The Higher Education Act, No. 101 of 1997, requires the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to annually produce a report on the state of South African higher education and to report on its own activities.
The first CHE Annual Report (1998/1999) provided an extensive analysis of South African higher education. It reviewed higher education prior to the democratic elections of 1994 and since the promulgation of the White Paper on higher education in 1997, highlighted new trends and developments, examined progress towards the policy goals embodied in the White Paper, identified key challenges and, where appropriate, proposed new directions. It also reported on developments regarding the CHE, established in May 1998.
In developing the second Annual Report (1999/2000) it became clear that there were limited new developments and insufficient new information and data to produce another extensive account of higher education in South Africa. As a result, the second Annual Report concentrated on the activities of the CHE itself.
An annual report with a comprehensive account of the state of higher education as well as a report on the CHE's activities, alternating with an annual report with a focus on the activities of the CHE alone, seems set to become the practice. In this vein the third Annual Report (2000/2001) reported on the state of South African higher education and the CHE. This fourth Annual Report (2001-2002) therefore confines itself to an account of the activities of the Council on Higher Education and its permanent committee, the Higher Education Quality Committee for the period November 2001 to October 2002.