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CHE-HELTASA National Excellence awards

Friday, January 20, 2017

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards.

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The Council on Higher Education’s Policies on the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Council on Higher Education’s Policies on the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), Credit Accumulation and Transfer, and assessment in higher education set out to provide higher education institutions with appropriate directives and procedures for the development, application and assessment of the effectiveness of their internal mechanisms in relation to RPL, CAT and assessment.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy

Teaching and Learning’ in South African Higher Education Reviewed

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Council on Higher Education and the University of Johannesburg Postgraduate School invite you to a panel discussion on Teaching and Learning: The panel discussion will be based on Chapter Four 'Teaching and Learning' of the South African higher education reviewed: Two decades of democracy book.

WHEN : 11 October 2016, 12:00 -13:30

VENUE : Akanya Building, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, University of Johannesburg.

BOOKINGS : If you would like to participate, please use the following link: 

DEADLINE : RSVP by 12:00 on Wednesday 5 October

QUERIES : Ms Nadya Bhagwan (

For more information please see Invite



CHE submission to the Presidential Commission

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) appreciates the opportunity to make a submission to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (the Commission) on the onerous task of assessing the feasibility of fee-free higher education in South Africa.

Submission & presentation below: 

Presentation to the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training - Prof Narend Baijnath - CEO

CHE submission to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training. 


Monday, June 27, 2016



SEPTEMBER 20-24, 2016

Dear Colleagues and Friends in Higher Education,

We are pleased to make the second announcement of the 8th International Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa (ICQAHEA) scheduled to hold from 20th to 24th September, 2016 in Namibia. This edition of ICQAHEA promises to be specially enriching as it focuses on"Multidimensions of Innovation in Higher Education in Africa: Towards Enhancing Quality and Accelerating Regional Harmonisation". It will take participants beyond the stereotype in quality assurance to new trajectories and emerging innovations worth applying in the quest to accelerate quality improvement at the institutional, national and regional higher education levels all within the framework of regional harmonisation. There will be six high-class plenary sessions bundled with lively discussions to share good practices; six workshops to learn new skills in quality assurance; meeting of the African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN) and a symposium of vice-chancellors, rectors and presidents of African universities on effective management of higher education institutions to improve quality. In the 8th ICQAHEA, we have four events rolled into one! You cannot afford to miss it. The lovely country of Namibia beckons to host us.

Hosts: The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and the University of Namibia (UNAM) 

Date: 20 - 24 September 2016 (arrival is Monday, September 19; departure is September 25)

Venue: Manpower Convention Centre, Windhoek, Namibia Deadline for the submission of Expanded Abstracts: July 15. 

To register, please visit the conference website at:


Conference Announcement and call for papers: SAQAN 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) is pleased to announce that the 3rd Southern African Regional Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education will be organised by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and will take place from 19 to 21 October 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. The theme of the conference is:

Quality Promotion and Capacity Development in Higher Education in Southern Africa: Concepts, Perspectives and Practices

Quality assurance professionals from southern Africa are therefore invited to submit paper and/or poster abstracts for consideration with a view towards making presentations at the conference


SAQAN Conference Announcement

Call for applications - CHE/HELTASA Teaching Awards

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Council on Higher Education (CHE), in partnership with the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) is pleased to call on universities to nominate candidates for the annual National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards for 2016.  The aims of the National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards are to acknowledge and reward, at a national level, excellence in teaching and learning in higher education; and to generate a cadre of academics who are able to provide inspiration and leadership in teaching in their disciplines, institutions and regions.

Teaching Excellence Awards Brochure

National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards Call for Applications 2016

2013 Higher Education Data: Participation

Friday, January 22, 2016

Who are those who participate in Higher Education?

The participation profile in the South African higher education system has changed drastically over the last 20 years, in terms of race, gender and size of the system. This section will show those who entered and exited the public higher education institutions up to 2012.  Below are some navigational links to the areas we will be looking at.

Student racial profile

Historically the South African government prioritised the higher education opportunities on white students and the other race groups were marginalized. This also influenced the quality and programme offerings of the various institutions, which were also segregated by race. The resultant effect was low participation rates for black South Africans and, more crucially, generally low completion rates among these students.

Post-apartheid, the sector underwent great change, including a sharp increase in black student participation in public higher education within South Africa. All public higher education institutions are now open to all South Africans, irrespective of their race.

Table 1 Headcount enrolments in public higher education by race, 2008 to 2013

Overall the student enrolments increased by 23% from 2008 to 2013. The African student compliment in particular increased by 34% from 515 058 in 2008 to 689 503 in 2013.African enrollments increased from 64% of all enrolments in 2008 to 70% in 2013. The African representation in the South African population was 80% in 2013, which is shows there is basically a 10% proportional difference between the country’s population and the higher education participation of Africans. The graph below shows the proportional representation of students of different races in public higher education and compares it with the racial composition of the South African population. The proportion of African students enrolled is still increasing and is becoming more a reflection of the national population every year. However, the same cannot be said for Coloured students.

Figure 1 Headcount student enrolments in public higher education by race, 2008 to 2013

The racial composition of the South African student population is even more pronounced when participation rates are considered.  South Africa’s participation rates or gross enrolment rates are low in general. The participation rate is calculated as the total headcount enrolments as a percentage of the total population between the ages of 20 – 24 years. For 2012, the participation rates by race are reflected in the graph below. Overall for 2012, South Africa has a participation rate of 19%, which is up from 2011 where the participation rate was 17%. It must be remembered that accurate participation rates are highly dependent on the accuracy of the population figures.

The National Plan for Higher Education in 2001 set the target of a 20% participation rate within 10 to 15 years. This has not been achieved. 

Figure 2 Participation rates (in public higher education) by race, 2013

Figure 2 Participation rates (in public higher education) by race, 2012

The participation rates for Africans and Coloureds are considerably lower than for Whites and Indians. The participation rates for Africans and Coloureds have increased in recent years, but are still relatively low. The difference in participation by race is particularly pronounced at the postgraduate level. More White and Indian students continue to postgraduate study.


Figure 3 Proportional enrolments in public higher education by race and level of study, 2013

Student gender profile

Figure 4 Headcount student enrolments in public higher education by gender, 2003, 2008 and 2013

During the eleven years from 2003 to 2013 the gender profile in South African higher education has changed significantly. In 2013 there were 573 698 women enrolled in the public higher education sector, which constituted 58% of the total headcount enrolment for that year. In the South African population in 2013, women constituted approximately 51% of the population and 50% for the 20-24 old year age group of the population. The imbalance in enrolments in higher education has definitely shifted to favour women, especially compared to the population statistics.

However, when qualification level is taken into account the picture shifts. At the undergraduate and honours levels, many more women are enrolled than men, but at the masters and doctoral levels there are more men than women, although the proportion of women has increased slightly over the same period. The number of masters and doctoral students is small and it does not show effect in the general gender profile.

Figure 5 Proportion of men and women enrolling in public higher education by qualification level, 2013


Participation by nationality

Ninety-three percent of students enrolled in South African public higher education in 2013 were South African. The overall proportion of foreign students in public higher education has averaged 7% from 2002 to 2013, while the number of foreign students increased from 48 197 in 2003 to 73 859 in 2013.

The proportion of foreign students enrolled in postgraduate programmes (15%) is higher than those in undergraduate programmes (6%).

Figure 6 Enrolments in public institutions by nationality and qualification level, 2013

Source: HEMIS 2012


There has been significant change in the proportion of postgraduate foreign students to local students over the last eleven years. The foreign postgraduate students increased from 10% in 2002 to 14% in 2012.

Figure 7 Enrolments of foreign students by qualification level, 2003 and 2013

Source: HEMIS 2012

Most foreign students come from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region (73%). South Africa also attracts a small number of students from the rest of Africa and from other parts of the world. However the proportions of these students remained basically unchanged through the years.

The distribution of foreign students by region is as follows:

Figure 8 Foreign students enrolling in public institutions by region, 2013


Age profile of enrolled students

The graph below looks at the age profile of the South African public higher education system and particularly at the differences between race groups. A proportional analysis of the race groups show that a larger percentage Africans enroll after 35 years old while white and Indian students are more likely to enroll before 24 years old.

Figure 9 Headcount enrolments by age grouping for 2013



Field of study

We have four major fields of study: business and commerce (B&C), education (Edu), humanities (Hum) and science, engineering and technology (SET). Below we have a graph showing the enrolment patterns by field of study from 2008 to 2013. The lowest number of enrolments has been, and still is, in education. However, this is also the field with the highest growth rate in enrolments (39%) over that period.



Figure 10 Headcount enrolments by major field of study from 2008 to 2013


The graph shows  a decrease in the proportion of humanities enrolments to other fields especially in 2011, which from the 2012 enrolments started to increase again. All fields have seen growth in terms of absolute numbers enrolled.

The table below shows headcount enrolments by the 20 Classification of Subject Matter (CESM) categories, disaggregated to the fields of study, from 2011 to 2013.


 Table 2 Headcount enrolments by the 20 main fields of study from 2011 to 2013


Overall, between 2011 and 2013 education enrolments increased by only 5%, humanities by 12%, SET by 7%.


Further resources on participation

CHE, 2009. Higher Education Monitor No. 8: The State of Higher Education in South Africa

CHE, 2009. Higher Education Monitor: Postgraduate studies in South Africa – a statistical profile

CHE Statement on Disruptions at Universities

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has observed with deepening concern, the descent of student protests at some of our universities into wanton acts of violence, student intimidation and the destruction of university property.........


CHE Statement on Disruptions at Universities

Call for papers: CHE Colloquium: Higher education funding challenges

Monday, November 2, 2015

Universities have recently been unsettled by student protests that have highlighted the funding challenges facing the higher education sector in its entirety. In response to this, the CHE is organising a colloquium around a discussion document, to consider possible ways to reduce or solve these funding challenges. The event will take place in Pretoria, on 3 December 2015.The CHE invites interested parties to present short, well-developed position papers proposing solutions to the higher education funding crisis, with a particular focus on funding students.


Call for papers: CHE Colloquium: Higher education funding challenges

Statement on the Wave of Student Protests on Fees

Friday, October 23, 2015

The CHE welcomes the outcome of the engagement between the President and all stakeholders to resolve this issue......


Statement on the Wave of Student Protests on Fees

Call for QEP peer reviewers

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Applications are invited for QEP peer reviewers to provide individual feedback to institutions in 2016. Closing date is 28 October and training is on 30 November and 1 December. ............



Call for QEP peer reviewers

Statement of the evaluation of violent behaviour on university campuses

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The CHE has observed, with mounting concern, the phenomenon of violent..........

Statement student violence

Draft Qualification Standards for Public Comment

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The CHE announces the publication of Draft qualification standard statements for MBA, LLB, BSW, Bachelor of Engineering / Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Diploma in Engineering for public comment. The expanded CHE mandate includes the development of standards for qualifications in higher education. A qualification standard is a generic statement of the learning domains, the level of achievement and the graduate attributes that characterise, and are required for the award of the qualification. They set out expectations about standards of qualifications in a range of fields of study, describing what gives a discipline its distinctiveness. National qualification standards provide both compliance benchmarks and developmental indicators for qualification types as awarded in particular fields of study or disciplines.

These draft standard statements are now available for public comment. Any comments should be sent to Ms Fundiswa Kanise at ; subject: (Qualification Name - Comments) by no later than 18 September 2015. Comments received will be referred to the relevant standards development reference group for advice to the CHE on possible amendments to the drafts before formal approval by the CHE.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor of Engineering / Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Diploma in Engineering



Commercial QA conference

Thursday, August 6, 2015

CHE’s statement on unendorsed commercial QA conference







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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The CHE announces the appointment of a new CEO: Prof Narend Baijnath




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QEP institutional submissions analysis

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


The content analysis of institutions’ baseline submissions for the Quality Enhancement Project is available.


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Symposium on Enhancing Academics as Teachers

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Symposium on Enhancing Academics as Teachers 5 June 2015, Protea Edward, Durban

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CHE Statement on Xenophobic attacks

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The statement of the CHE on the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

CHE Statement on Xenophobic attacks

Student Massacre Garissa Kenya

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The CHE expresses horror and sadness at the death of 147 students



CHE Statement Student Massacre Garissa Kenya

Siyaphumelela conference

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 1st Siyaphumelela conference on exploring how data analytics can be harnessed to improve student retention, throughput and success in South African Higher Education takes place 14-15 May 2015. For more information go to

VitalStats: Public Higher Education, 2012

Monday, February 2, 2015

CHE is pleased to release the latest version of VitalStats 2012. This version includes cohort studies on postgraduate, data on research output and some financial data. VitalStats2012

Appointment of New Council Members

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Minister of Higher Education and Training has appointed the following members to the CHE Council.

Names of the members


CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching awards

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The award winners were announced at the gala dinner at the annual HELTASA conference on 20 November at the University of Free State. For more information go to 

Click here for more information

Reminder: Submission of Applications

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Institutions are reminded that applications and submissions for the following Accreditation processes are due on 30 June 2014:

LET_CHE to Sector_Reminder_20140610.pdf

QEP Launch presentation videos available now

White Paper for Post-School Education and Training

Friday, January 17, 2014

The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training has been published by the Department of Higher Education and Training. To download the document click here: White Paper for Post-School Education and Training.

VitalStats: Public Higher Education, 2011

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The latest edition of VitalStats with data up to 2011 has now been published. To download click here VitalStats: Public Higher Education, 2011

Nelson Mandela

Friday, December 6, 2013

It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss that the CHE heard of the passing away of Nelson Mandela the father of our nation. Madiba’s role and the sacrifices he made in securing the freedom and democracy that we enjoy is without parallel. We mourn his death with a sense of relief that he has been spared further suffering. And we celebrate a life in the service of humanity. We extend our deepest condolences to the family.

Hamba Kahle Madiba.

The winners of the HELTASA-CHE National Excellence in Teaching Awards have been announced.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The winners of the HELTASA-CHE National Excellence in Teaching Awards have been announced.

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Call for comments on extended curriculum proposal

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Public comments on "A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa" should be sent to by 29 November 2013.

Quality Enhancement Project Draft Framework and Process documents

CHE Lesotho: Request for Proposals - Development of Audit Framework

Monday, October 28, 2013

Request for Proposals by Consultants to Develop an Institutional Audit Framework for Evaluating the Performance of Higher Learning Institutions

Council on Higher Education (CHE) in Lesotho invites proposals from suitably qualified consultants/companies to submit proposals to develop an institutional audit framework for higher education institutions. The objectives of the assignment are as follows:

  • Design and develop the draft Institutional Audit Framework for evaluating the performance of public and private higher education institutions;
  • Ensure that the framework is consistent with provisions of the Higher Education Act, 2004, CHE’s existing quality assurance tools and guidelines, and is comparable to similar documents developed in the international world;
  • Facilitate stakeholder inputs to the audit framework;
  • Facilitate external feedback on the audit framework;
  • Revise, edit and facilitate formal approval of the framework.

A successful consultant must have relevant qualifications and experience in the area of quality assurance plus sound knowledge of higher education systems, especially those found in the developing world. Specifically, the consultant must have the following competences:

  • Broad knowledge and understanding of the issues pertaining to the provision of higher education in the developing world;
  • Very good knowledge of a wide range of quality assurance systems, processes, and tools;
  • Experience in setting up and using quality assurance systems, processes and tools;
  • Experience in evaluating quality assurance systems and processes in higher education contexts;
  • Experience in conducting programme accreditation and institutional audits in higher education contexts;
  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English.

Comprehensive terms of reference for the assignment can be collected from the CHE offices in Maseru at LNDC Development House, Block D, and 6thFloor or downloaded from our website, on or after Monday October 21st 2013. The contact number for the office is (+266) 22313503 and it is available form 0800 – 1700 hours week days (excluding lunch hours: 1245 – 1400).

Technical and financial proposals should be submitted in separate envelopes or files. You can hand deliver your proposals to the CHE offices or send by e-mail to <>.

The closing date for submission of proposals is Monday 11th November 2013.

The proposals should be addressed to:

The Chief Executive
Council on Higher Education
P.O. Box 14046
Maseru 100



CHE's Annual Report for 2012-2013 published

Friday, October 11, 2013

The 2012-2013 Annual Report of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) has been published. 

Download the annual report here: 

Annual Report of the Council on Higher Education 2012/2013


Vincent Tinto Symposia presentation video clips available online

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The presentations given at the Regional Symposia on Student Success from the 19th to the 23rd of August 2013 are now available as online video clips.

View the video clips on the symposia's event page

CHE-HELTASA winners for National Excellence in T&L selected

Monday, September 23, 2013

The winners of the CHE-HELTASA (Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa) National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards for 2013 have been selected.

They will be announced at the HELTASA conference dinner on 28 November.

CHE seminar on the extended curriculum proposal held on 17th September

Monday, September 23, 2013

On the 17th of September 2013 the CHE held a seminar to discuss the recenty released CHE Task Team report proposing undergraduate reform in South Africa. Some task team members attended the seminar to engage with the issues raised and Professor Ian Scott gave a presentation outlining the proposal. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposal by 29 November 2013, and comments should be posted to the CHE or emailed to

Download the presentation: 
Presentation by Ian Scott at national seminar, 17 September 2013

Download the report:
A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa: The case for a flexible curriculum structure

The task team report on an extended curriculum released

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The task team report:  A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa: The case for a flexible curriculum structure has now been released for public comment.

Download the full report: 
A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa: The case for a flexible curriculum structure

CHE comments on draft policy and regulation

The revised HEQSF was gazetted on the 2nd of August 2013