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CHE > Media and Publications > Annual Reports > Annual Report of the Council on Higher Education 1998/1999
January, 1999

Foreword

Without doubt, higher education plays an important role in socio-economic change and development. A common factor among countries that have managed to sustain high levels of economic growth with significant improvements in the living standards of the masses is the priority given to relevant high quality education.

High quality basic education equips young people with learning skills and the ability to absorb new knowledge and technology and inculcates a culture of self-improvement.

Higher level education, at the apex of the learning-teaching system, is charged with contributing to the urgent economic and social development of South Africa, with producing high-level skilled graduates to drive such development and with generating the knowledge that is increasingly a vital component of development.

The government's decision to establish the Council on Higher Education (CHE) must be understood against this background. The mandate of the CHE is to advise the Minister of Education on all matters of higher education so that the system makes its due contribution to the public good. The CHE functions as an independent, expert, statutory body and has responsibility, through its Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), for quality assurance in higher education. The mandate of the CHE also extends to reporting annually to parliament on the state of higher education in South Africa and on its own activities.

Higher level education, at the apex of the learning-teaching system, is charged with contributing to the urgent economic and social development of South Africa, with producing high-level skilled graduates to drive such development and with generating the knowledge that is increasingly a vital component of development.

The government's decision to establish the Council on Higher Education (CHE) must be understood against this background. The mandate of the CHE is to advise the Minister of Education on all matters of higher education so that the system makes its due contribution to the public good. The CHE functions as an independent, expert, statutory body and has responsibility, through its Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), for quality assurance in higher education. The mandate of the CHE also extends to reporting annually to parliament on the state of higher education in South Africa and on its own activities.

This first annual report of the CHE reviews higher education prior to the democratic elections of 1994 and since the promulgation of the White Paper on higher education in 1997. It highlights new trends and developments, examines progress towards the policy goals embodied in the White Paper, identifies challenges and, where appropriate, proposes new directions.

The report seeks to promote public debate on the status and condition of higher education and considered, yet decisive, action towards developing a higher education system characterised by equity, quality, responsiveness to economic and social development needs and effective and efficient provision and management.

The CHE will contribute by providing informed, considered and strategic advice on higher education issues to the Minister of Education; through the quality assurance activities of its HEQC; and through publications, media, conferences and workshops and various other focused activities.

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