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CHE > Media and Publications > Kagisano Series > Kagisano Issue Number 2: Good Governance in Higher Education
January, 2003

Introduction

The issue of the governance of higher education institutions in South Africa became one of the focuses of higher education reform in the mid-1990s when the transformation agenda of the country necessitated a new relationship between higher education institutions, the state and civil society on the one hand, and between higher education constituencies and internal governance structures on the other. Thus the reform of the governance of higher education institutions constituted one aspect of the transformation of the higher education system to serve the goals of a newly established democracy that had to respond to the social and economic deficit inherited from four decades of apartheid. In this context, governance was far from being seen as a technology of management; it was an eminently political process on which depended the realisation of substantive democracy. Governance was a mechanism to achieve democratic consensus about the objectives, processes and timeframes for institutional and systemic transformation, and in that sense it implied a high degree of co-operation between government and institutions.

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