Symposium 2013

Panel Discussion and Book Launch 

Topic: Access and Success in Higher Education: Underprepared Students or Underprepared Institutions? 

Panelists: Professor Ian Scott, UCT; Professor Deo Jaganyi, UKZN; Professor Renuka Vithal, UKZN

Respondent: Professor Michael Samuel, UKZN

Based on the empirical work of acknowledged experts in alternative access and Foundation provisioning in South Africa and using the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a case study, this book shifts the gaze, placing under scrutiny the question of institutional (under) preparedness.

The book asks whether the policy framework underpinning the post-secondary sector is sufficiently coherent to offer viable alternative access; whether universities have transformed their curricula and institutional cultures to meet the demands of rapidly changing student body; whether the increase in enrolments at universities has resulted in a corresponding increase in graduations and whether the investment in Foundation support might be better served by rethinking the funding model, the programmes themselves and the students they are meant to serve in relation to the mainstream since the “mainstream” itself is changing.

The authors contend that Higher Education in South Africa no longer has the luxury of ascribing its underperformance entirely to the underperformance of the schooling sector and socio-historical-economic conditions and while accelerated participation in higher education is an imperative, increasing access in the absence of systemic change and transformation of the sector, will not in itself achieve that end successfully. Instead, it will continue to squander limited resources and continue to disadvantage the very people it is primarily intended to benefit.

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