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CHE > Media and Publications > Che Events Presentations > Address by the Minister of Education to the Colloquium on 10 Years of Democracy and Higher Education Change
Naledi Pandor
November, 2004
South Africa, Department of Education

I have spent a good part of my first six months in office engaging with a whole host of key constituencies in the education sector, including higher education, and with interest groups in civil society and the private sector who have a stake in education. My observations confirm that higher education stands at the precipice of weighty decision-making. It could take a leap into a strong revival of all institutions and a firm role in influencing and shaping the process of transition in South Africa. Or it could choose to reside in isolated mediocrity, satisfied with a few star performers, and a majority that refuses to accept the mantle of change.

It has to be acknowledged that several institutions have made great strides and have managed to reflect internationally accepted criteria of positive achievement. They produce peer-referenced research, have able scholars who understand the intellectual enterprise, and offer teaching programmes that lead to the emergence of graduates who confidently take up their places in any society. Alongside these successes we have programmes and institutions of somewhat dubious academic credentials, some not pursuing research, many lacking high-ranking scholars, and some offering teaching programmes that will almost certainly fail the looming stringent scrutiny of their peers.



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