The Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions was set up by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, in March 2008 to “investigate discrimination in public higher education institutions, with a particular focus on racism and to make appropriate recommendations to combat discrimination and to promote social cohesion” (Soudien, Michaels, Mthembi-Mahanyele, et al. 2008). The final report of the Committee was published in November 2008 and includes forty recommendations to the sector.1
As the statutory body responsible for advising the Minister of Higher Education and Training on higher education matters, for assuring and promoting quality within the sector, and for supporting the development of higher education, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) has a direct interest in progress towards combating racism and other forms of discrimination in the sector and hence in the content of this report. The CHE is also committed to the national goals of transforming higher education. The objective of this response by the CHE is to reflect on the report, its findings and recommendations, and to indicate how the CHE can contribute towards the implementation of the recommendations.
Several of the recommendations made in the report fall within the mandate of the CHE and many of the existing CHE structures, projects and operational processes can be brought to bear on implementing them. In responding to the concerns raised in the report, the CHE has concentrated on those issues that have been identified in the CHE’s business plan as key focus areas. In this way, the CHE can contribute to addressing the concerns raised in the report, within our planned activities and without requiring additional resources.
- In what follows, the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions is referred to as the Committee, and the Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions is referred to as the Report.