1.1 The Minister of Higher Education and Training has indicated his intention to “make Regulations” in terms of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No 101 of 1997), as amended, and has published draft regulations for the establishment of a National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) in the Government Gazette, Notice No. 441, Government Gazette No. 36584 of 19 June 2013.
1.2 The Council welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft Regulations in terms of section of 38A (1) of the Higher Education Act, which stipulates that the Minister may establish a National Institute for Higher Education “after consultation with the Council on Higher Education”.
1.3 The Council is concerned, however, that its ability to comment is constrained by the fact that the Regulations are not accompanied by a policy statement indicating the rationale for the establishment of the NIHSS. The Council is aware that the establishment of the NIHSS is informed by the recommendations in the Report Commissioned by the Minister of Higher Education and Training for the Charter for Humanities and Social Sciences (DHET, Final Report: 30 June 2011). However, an accompanying policy statement would have clarified the Ministry’s response to the Final Report and to the public comments on the Final Report that were submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training by various role-players and stakeholders.
1.3.1 In addition, a policy statement would have clarified the Ministry’s view of the concept of a National Institute in general given that the proposed NIHSS is significantly different in purpose and structure from the existing National Institutes for Higher Education in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.