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CHE > Media and Publications > Research > Task Team on Government Involvement in Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom (HEIAAF) - Written submissions to the Task Team - 2006
March, 2006
Stakeholder and Abbreviated Name Category Submission / Abstract No Title(s) Status Summary
APSA UNISA Stakeholder body 23
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Submissions by APSA (UNISA) members
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Collection of viewpoints of individual members of this academic staff union Flags concerns around increasingly managerialist tendencies at institutional level which circumscribe academic autonomy, at the same time as greater government regulation/interference curbs institutional autonomy
Brown, David - University of KwaZulu-Natal (Brown UKZN) Individual 29
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download Brief email statement Argues that debate on issues within the scope of the HEIAAF investigation may often be facile, parochial and informed by vested interests.
Central University of Technology (CUT) Higher education institution 02
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Some Preliminary Views on Academic Freedom and Institutional Autonomy (compiled and edited by Laetus O K Lategan)
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Discussion document only Notes key concerns: silence of universities on controversial social issues; potential imposition of 'orthodoxy' via funding; Department of Education 'management' of higher education system
du Toit, André Individual 25
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Some comments on "Academic Freedom and the University: Fifty Years of Debate"
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Letter setting out comments on paper presented by Prof Martin Hall at the HEIAAF regional forum in the Western Cape, May 2006 (paper based on UCT submission, Introduction ) Discusses problematic aspects of the 'classic'/'contextual' terminology; argues that there can be no legitimate state interference in academic freedom (as distinct from institutional autonomy); and argues that a proper understanding of academic freedom must both differentiate it from the individual right of free speech and explain how and why academic freedom may require significant constraints on free speech in the context of academic teaching and scholarly research
Fester, Eugene Individual 24
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Academic Freedom under Outcomes-Based Education and Training in South African Higher Education Institutions
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Academic paper Argues that outcomes-based education and the National Qualifications Framework enable academic freedom, as academics retain freedom over inputs while outputs are the domain of quality assurance agencies; however, academics must exercise this freedom with an 'obligation of discretion', taking due account of national imperatives
Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) Civil society body/voluntary NGO 33
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Letter: Submission on the state of academic freedom of expression in South Africa

Paper: The Rise of the Disciplinary University
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Submission Argues that the growing disciplinary culture in tertiary institutions indicates a systemic shift in the academic freedom climate that places greater controls on academics and students on the basis of what they say; proposes an audit of all subsidiary legislation at tertiary institution level, encompassing conditions of service, rules governing student activities on campus and all rules and by-laws impacting on academic freedom on campus; further proposes a campus freedom of expression code and an ombudsman of academia, entrenching the basic principles of free speech and setting out the procedures for disciplining of staff and students based on a 'for us, by us' form of self-regulation.
Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) Sectoral/higher education body 32
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Submission by the Higher Education Quality Committee to the CHE HEIAAF Task Team.
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Submission approved by HEQC Board, 6 March 2007. Argues that the HEQC is committed to assuring quality in the context of higher education restructuring and transformation towards social and economic justice as democratic goals of our society; and that all its policy frameworks and criteria are formulated and implemented as consistent with that position.
Higher Education South Africa (HESA) Sectoral/higher education body 18
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Letter: CHE Task Team on Government Involvement in and Regulation of Higher Education, Academic Freedom and Institutional Autonomy
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Paper: The Relationship between Higher Education and the State: Issues of Centralisation, Academic Freedom, University Autonomy and Accountability
Viewpoint submitted for the information of the TT and not a HESA submission (duplicates UJ, Annexure H) Argues as per UJ
Institutional Forum, Tshwane University of Technology (IF TUT) Stakeholder formations 30
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A Response from the Institutional Forum of the Tshwane University of Technology to the Call of the CHE for Submissions: 'South African Involvement in and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy And Academic Freedom'
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Submission, being consolidated viewpoints of institutional stakeholders represented in the IF. Reviews strategically important areas of government involvement in higher education, and discusses aspects of academic freedom, autonomy and accountability to arrive at a range of conclusions including that: resources for higher education should be increased and the efficiency with which resources are used should be improved; an appropriate allocation of roles between government and institutions is needed, with government steering autonomous institutions; and no 'super league' of universities should be created in South Africa as this may open legacies of the past.
Institutional Forum, University of Zululand (IF UZ) Stakeholder formations 27
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(Letter re:) CHE's Invitation Re Stakeholder Formations
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Submission, being a summary of points made by IF members in discussion. Argues that if higher education institutions are to deliver as needed, they must be funded, resourced, evaluated and governed appropriately.
Mahlangu, Simon, member of Institutional Forum, University of Pretoria (Mahlangu IF UP) Stakeholder formations 28
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Submissions to the Task Team
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Submission, being an input to the IF by its member representing disabled students and staff. Argues that the disability sector's needs of higher education institutions should be better identified and met, and that this should be facilitated by such means as the establishment of a task team to investigate disabled persons' needs, and specific provisions in the Standard Institutional Statute for representation of disabled persons on institutional governance structures.
Mangosuthu Technikon (now Mangosuthu University of Technology) Higher education institution 06
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Regulation of, and Interference in Higher Education by the South African Government: Submission by Mangosuthu Technikon to the CHE Task Team
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Outcome of incomplete institutional process Makes the following key points: state interference can occur via legislation, political interference or strictures on intellectual life; state intervention may undermine autonomy and accountability vested in institutional councils
National Council of Provinces, Select Committee on Education and Recreation (Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, Sport and Recreation) (NCOP) Government 26
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Contextualising the Involvement of Government in Higher Education in South Africa
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Submission, position paper Argues that, since 1994, the South African government's involvement in higher education has been relevant, instrumental, strategic, and aligned with international practices during an era of transformation; accordingly, there are no indications of any quest to interfere with the academic freedom of higher education institutions
National Research Foundation (NRF) Research development agency 22
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Submission to the Council on Higher Education on Higher Education Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Submission by NRF Systems, Policy Analysis and Strategy Advice Poses a set of questions for exploration as part of the HEIAAF investigation, in order to stimulate debate about broadening the landscape of freedoms and accountability in South African society and higher education
National Tertiary Education Staff Union (NTESU) Stakeholder body 31
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A National Tertiary Education Staff Union Comment Document, Submission to Council on Higher Education: HEIAAF Research
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Submission, mandated by National Executive Committee Comments critically on aspects of institutional autonomy, academic freedom and transformation in South African higher education, arguing that the sector should remain as unencumbered as possible, within a steering framework of transformative principles, in order to generate the future knowledge workers and leaders needed by our society
National Union of Technikon Employees of South Africa (NUTESA) Stakeholder body 14
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Submissions to the CHE Task Team on Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Educational Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Submission, status not specified Argues that it is problematic that government has sole discretion to decide when to intervene and argues a range of examples that require both more, and less, state steering; emphasises the impact of government directives on the workload of individual academics, as well as various challenges to higher education effectiveness posed from within (e.g. managerialism, poor accountability of councils)
North-West University (NWU) Higher education institution 04
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Letter: Invitation to Make Submissions/Presentations to the CHE's Task Team on SA Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy in Academic Freedom
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Addendum A: Is There a Conflict between the Search for National Relevancy and Academic Freedom in Higher Education in South Africa? (H O Kaya)

Addendum B: Academic Freedom in South Africa (F Venter)
Submission, distillation of two academic inputs Emphasises academic freedom as a human right under threat from arbitrary exercise of government power; argues for higher education freedom to craft a fundamental repositioning to meet the needs of the continent and a globalised world of knowledge
Rhodes University (RU) Higher education institution 05
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Submission to the Council on Higher Education's Task Team on Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom (P Maylam and P Vale)
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Outcome of process of academic comment Argues that greatest single threat to South African higher education is not interference but under-resourcing of the sector by the state
Stuart Saunders (Saunders) Individual 01
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Autonomy and academic freedom
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Brief email statement Characterises academic freedom as 'absolute', institutional autonomy as 'not absolute'
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Sectoral/higher education body 09
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South African Qualifications Authority's Submission to the Council on Higher Education's Task Team on South African Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Submission approved by SAQA Exco Argues that the emergence of a new state-sector relationship must be supported by greater shared understanding of key concepts; this can be pursued through iterative critical engagement and negotiated change that forge a social contract between state and sector
South African Students' Congress (SASCO) Stakeholder body 21
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Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom in Higher Education South Africa: a South African Students' Perspective. Submission by the South African Students' Congress to the Council on Higher Education on the relationship between the state and higher education, February 2006
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Submission of the organisation Argues for a framework of institutional autonomy and academic freedom in which government is able to define the rules of engagement for higher education transformation, with appropriate checks and balances
Stellenbosch University (SUN) Higher education institution 07
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Paper 1: Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy and Public Accountability (H Rossouw)

Paper 2: A Response to the CHE's Call for Submissions: Government Involvement in and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom (Y Waghid, S Berkhout, D Taylor, B van Wyk, and J de Klerk)
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Viewpoints of SUN academics, not of institution Argues that academic freedom is protected by the Constitution but its meaning and scope of applicability have not been decided by a court of law; therefore closer interpretation is required; argues that patterns of state regulation and funding are eroding professional judgement and the pursuit of excellence in academic work
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Higher education institution 03
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Submission to the CHE Task Team on South African Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Outcome of senior management workshop Cites instances that tread the fine line of steering and interfering; recommends that the HEIAAF Task Team clarify roles of government in higher education and facilitate shared understanding between state and sector
University of Cape Town (UCT) Higher education institution 11
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Submission: Academic Freedom and Institutional Autonomy: Views from the University of Cape Town

Introduction: Academic Freedom and the University: 50 Years of Debate
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Articles:

  • Academic Freedom in the New South Africa, John Higgins (2000a)
  • Academic Freedom and the University, John Higgins (2000b)
  • From Autonomy to Accountability: Academic Freedom under Threat in South Africa? André du Toit (2000b)
  • Revisiting Academic Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Current Issues and Challenges, André du Toit (2000b)
  • South African Higher Education in the First Decade of Democracy: From Cooperative Governance to Conditional Autonomy, Martin Hall and Ashley Symes (2005)
  • Academic Freedom versus the Race Card at UCT - W(h)ither Transformation, Leslie London (2005)

Note by KR Hughes: On Academic Freedom and University Autonomy: Some Notes on Their Meaning, History, and Possible Future Importance in South Africa in the 21st Century
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Submission following discussion by the Academic Freedom Committee Describes UCT as evincing both 'classic' and 'contextual' views of academic freedom, where the first sees academic freedom and institutional autonomy as indissoluble, and the second delinks them to acknowledge that the right to academic freedom entails responsibilities; the relationship between academic freedom and freedom of speech within the university is far from resolved
University of Johannesburg (UJ) Higher education institution 10
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Memorandum: Government Involvement in Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Annexure A: A Constitutional Perspective on Higher Education

Annexure B: Once Again the Question Whether Universities are Organs of State

Annexure C: Die Regsbeskerming van Akademiese Vryheid en Universiteitsautonomie in 'n Nuwe Suid-Afrika

Annexure D: Die Onderwysbepalings van die 1993 Grondwet

Annexure E: A Fresh Start II: Issues and Challenges of Education Law in South Africa

Annexure F: The Erosion of Academic Freedom in South Africa: Reflections on a Battle Forfeited

Annexure G: The National Qualifications Framework and the Unconstitutional Limitation of Academic Freedom

Annexure H: The Relationship Between the State and Higher Education: Issues of Centralisation, Academic Freedom, University Autonomy and Accountability
Submission comprises a set of articles by a UJ academic, not necessarily the viewpoint of UJ Contends, from a constitutional and public law perspective, that public higher education institutions are organs of state and also holders of the right to academic freedom; academic freedom applies to the freedom of individual academics and to the autonomy of the university; autonomous universities should be held accountable to Parliament and the public, rather than via the Executive which may impose excessive control measures that erode academic freedom
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Higher education institution 20 Draft - Discussion Document on the Autonomy of Universities Framework only, preliminary to a submission Sets out discussion points:

  • how can the differences, and the articulation, between the concepts of institutional autonomy and academic freedom be understood?
  • what social and political forces shape the relationship between the state and the university? Business and university? Society and university?
  • how have other higher education systems shaped the autonomy discourse?
  • what is the model adopted in South African higher education, its underpinnings, trajectory, impact?
  • are there alternative models that bear consideration, especially with regard to the adoption of the Growth, Employment and Redistribution strategy (GEAR) as an overarching, neo-liberal economic framework?
University of Pretoria (UP) Higher education institution 17
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SA Government Involvement in, and Regulation of, Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom: University of Pretoria Submission to the Council on Higher Education
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Submission of the university Argues that contemporary South African higher education is characterised by deviations from the intentions of policy, and from international best practice, with negative consequences for transformation; this situation should be resolved by building shared understanding between stakeholders as to the appropriate policy and regulatory framework, as well as special measures and resources to support higher education institutions in carrying out their mandate
University of South Africa (UNISA) Higher education institution 19 Submission to the CHE Task Team on South African Government Involvement in and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom Draft submission of the university Argues that the successful implementation of higher education policy is dependent on a governance culture which balances legitimate government regulation on the one hand and institutional autonomy and self-regulation on the other; in the current climate, characterised as it is by a strong centralised and interventionist approach, these opportunities have been largely closed down and the result is a combination of legitimate intervention, and questionable imposition
University of the Free State (UFS) Higher education institution 16
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Submission: The Nature of Government Involvement in Higher Education, Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy and Public Accountability, Submission to the Council on Higher Education by the University of the Free State, October 2005;
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Note by M Fourie: Autonomy and Accountability: Keeping the Balance in South African Higher Education - Inaugural Lecture by Professor Magda Fourie, University of the Free State, 3 November 2004
Loosely organised ideas, rather than formal submission by university Argues that the state should not seek to colonise the whole of the public and civic spheres, but should respect the contribution of higher education to a healthy society through critical enquiry and independent scholarship; that the relationship between state, sector and other bodies with higher education regulatory functions should be subject to open and continuous critical discourse; and that appropriate conceptions of institutional autonomy, academic freedom and public accountability must include the notion of critique
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Higher education institution 13
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Comment from the Senate Academic Freedom Committee on CHE Project on Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education
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Outcome of Senate Academic Freedom Committee discussions Itemises Wits's concerns about aspects of the state-sector relationship and argues for a relationship model, based on shared understanding of the principles of higher education, to ensure academic freedom is protected as a social good
University of Venda for Science and Technology (Venda) Higher education institution 15
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Response on CHE Document on SA Government Involvement and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Submission, status not specified; signed by Registrar Supports government involvement that supports higher education transformation, while also noting instances of concern where government involvement appears not to focus sufficiently on transformation, or fails to take institutional circumstances properly into account
University of Zululand (UZ) Higher education institution 12
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Letter: University of Zululand Opinions on South African Government Involvement in Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom

Article: Participatory Response Co-ordinated by Prof Steve Edwards

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Outcome of participatory research at UZ The research found that more positive opinions on state involvement in higher education were held by younger female, previously-disadvantaged, lower-educated staff in administrative positions; and more negative opinions were held by older male, previously-advantaged, higher-educated staff in academic positions. Staff opinions were generally positive concerning the direction of government's involvement in higher education; neutral as concerns the effect on institutional autonomy; and negative as concerns the influence on academic freedom
Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science (WSU) Higher education institution 08
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Comments on the Council on Higher Education Document on South African Government Involvement In and Regulation of Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom
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Submission, status not specified; signed by Vice-Chancellor Advocates that a co-operative and consultative process should always characterise the relationship between higher education institutions and the state; in South African higher education today, the dividing line between steering and interfering is thin

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