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CHE > Media and Publications > Che Newsletters > Quality Matters Second Edition November 2015
November, 2015
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From the CEO's desk

Preoccupying most of us in higher education in recent months has been the upheaval at most higher education institutions stemming from student protest action around fee increases. The protests have also been a stark reminder of continuing inequalities in our society with a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots. What has been demonstrated is that the higher education sector cannot remain aloof from these wider societal challenges. The imperative is to redouble our efforts to promote greater equity in our society.

A higher education qualification holds the promise of a prosperous future for legions of students from all walks of life, but especially the poor and marginalised in society. The conundrum of increasing funding for students, while ensuring that universities are adequately resourced, in a poor economic climate, will test our best capabilities. For the CHE, the primary consideration is that the quality and stature of our higher education institutions, and the value of the qualifications of our graduates must not be compromised, as might be the cost of putting equity considerations above those of quality.

Appointment of the new CEO - The CHE welcomes Professor Narend Baijnath

The CHE is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Narend Baijnath as Chief Executive Officer as from 1 October 2015. Prof Baijnath has a distinguished career in higher education, having accumulated over 25 years of experience in numerous roles in teaching, senior management and governance. He has worked in different roles at the universities of Cape Town and Western Cape, Technikon SA, and at UNISA as the Pro Vice-Chancellor.  He has extensive experience in quality assurance, higher education policy and planning, business intelligence, and ICTs, amongst others. He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. In 2008 he was appointed a Fellow at St Edmunds College, Cambridge University and simultaneously a Research Professor at OUUK. He has also served as the South African representative on the Commonwealth of Learning Board since July 2012. More recently he was elected as Honorary Vice President of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa.

Professor Narend Baijnath

The CHE wins audit award

The Auditor General awarded the CHE one of only 9 nine trophy awards for obtaining an unqualified audit opinion with no findings or ‘clean audit’.

Much appreciation goes to the team Finance, Supply Chain Management and Human Resources for their hard work and commitment.  Appreciation also goes to Audit and Risk Committee and Council for their robust engagement and strategic leadership on all finance related matters.


Release of VitalStats 2013

VitalStats 2013 was released in September 2015 and includes detailed cohort data and financial information on the sector. As in previous editions, extensive data on student enrolments and completions (by field and institutional type) and academic staffing is provided. The publication can be downloaded from:



Update on the Quality Enhancement Project (QEP)

QEP workshop for private providers on enhancing the learning environment - 5 August 2015.

It has been a very busy few months for the QEP. The Content Analysis of the Baseline Institutional Submissions for Phase 1 of the Quality Enhancement Project has been published and can be downloaded from the CHE home page. The document is a rich resource for learning about successful practices at all South African universities, as well as challenges faced by both individual institutions and the higher education system. Individual institutional submissions can be

One of the issues that emerged from the content analysis is that for the quality of university teaching to be improved universities need to be able to rigorously assess and suitably reward university teaching. In order to build capacity in this area, the CHE invited all deans and directors of teaching and learning to attend one of two 2-day workshops on 1 and 2 or 4 and 5 June at the Protea Edward Hotel in Durban. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Thomas Olsson, an engineer by training and an experienced education development professional from Lund University in Sweden. Approximately 70 people attended each workshop, which provided a critical mass for a national conversation. A 1-day symposium on Enhancing Academics as Teachers was held on 3 June, attended by about 100 people, at which ten presentations were given. The presentations from the symposium and the workshops are available

Capacity building projects

On 21 August two student representatives from each university were invited to attend a QEP Student Workshop at the Birchwood Hotel. At the workshop students had the opportunity to learn about the QEP and suggest ways in which students can play an active role in promoting student success.

Two QEP workshops were held for private higher education providers on 4 and 5 August at St Augustine College in Johannesburg, and 17 and 18 September at Vega College in Cape Town.  The workshops dealt with the second and third QEP focus areas: Enhancing Student Support, and Development and Enhancing the Learning Environment respectively.

From 28 September to 2 October the Director of Institutional Audits and 15 Deputy Vice Chancellors: Academic and Teaching and Learning,  travelled  to Scotland to meet their counterparts and visit a number of Scottish universities. Scotland has been doing quality enhancement since 2003, so it was a very informative trip.

Phase 1 of the QEP will end in December this year.  New focus areas for Phase 2 will be announced before the end of the year. Universities’ final reports for Phase 1 are due on 11 December. In the first half of 2016 universities will receive individual feedback from peer reviewers on improvements made and needed in each of the Phase 1 focus area. The call for peer reviewers is on the CHE website. Applications close on 28 October and training will take place on 30 November and 1 December.

CHE plays a leading role in building QA capacity in Eastern and Southern Africa