The Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA) was formed to promote innovation and advance technology-focused institutions with transformative initiatives. Every student should have a fair chance to succeed and realise their full potential which is why we offer globally competitive, quality education to produce work-ready graduates.
With that said, we also acknowledge that transformation in higher education is an ongoing process and a burning topic in our higher education system. It is an issue that is sensitive to many given how politicised the term has become in the context of South Africa’s democracy. In order to gain a better understanding of how to implement transformation in higher education, leadership in government and universities need to work together to inspire change.
There needs to be a common goal between the basic and higher education system to prepare work-ready students, enabling them to be productive economic participants. Our education systems cater to the same demographic at different stages of their life which necessitates cohesive strategy and planning, as well as collaborative and interactive relationships.
Funding Equality and Language
The higher education system needs to invest in Research and Development to produce more experts that will make an impact in their respective industries. Higher education institutions should be aligned with the job demands of the economy while maintaining quality research and quality assurance.
There is also the matter of language which plays a significant role in a learner’s performance. South Africa has 11 official languages which is a testament to the diversity that makes this country so special. However, if we want to encourage transformation in higher education, we need to promote and preserve indigenous African languages. Offering more courses and degrees in our languages would not only highlight the beauty of our linguistic heritage, but it will also allow them to become a more formal medium of instruction in all aspects of life in South Africa.
Life After University
Higher education seems to be producing many graduates who may find themselves unemployed or underemployed. While there are many challenges to transformation, it is also imperative that we recognise the efforts being made. THENSA plays a significant role in ensuring that we get to a place where transformation is more visible. We have endeavoured to remove the stigma attached to technology focussed institutions which have long been overshadowed by traditional universities. Our member institutions have done an excellent job of producing graduates who are easily absorbed into the workplace due to the practical experience they bring to the table. This is a product of our emphasis on work placements which orientates teaching and learning around the expectations and realities of the industry.
At THENSA, our main objective is to promote impactful, relevant, and globally competitive qualifications within the Science, Engineering, Arts and Technology industry and support and encourage research, skills development and innovation in partnership with Business and research Institutions, both locally and internationally. This is so that we can help shift and position our learners to be globally competitive and improve the South African economy.
As challenging as some of the impediments to transformation may be, we believe that the efforts that we make today will pay off for the graduates of tomorrow.