How our Equity Index can be used to track University transformation
Date Released: Thu, 31 October 2013 08:40 +0200
PMG minutes of UKZN VC and Professor's presentation to portfolio committee on higher education (Oct 23)
Extract of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group's minutes on the Equity Index in South African Universities: Briefing by Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training and the Transformation Oversight Committee to the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Parliament October 23 2013.
Remarks by Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training
Mr Mduduzi Manana, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, apologised as he would have to leave to attend a meeting with the Select Committee for the presentation of the Annual Report. Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training, had appointed the Transformation Oversight Committee (TOC) the previous year. The TOC was led by Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.
The TOC would present their study on the utilisation of the equity index to monitor transformation. Some of the results would be shocking for Members, but this study was essential to understand the situation and it was important to engage with its results. This was the first time that a quantitative measure was used to assess transformation. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) would now have a complete picture of the progress of transformation.
Briefing by Transformation Oversight Committee
Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, Vice-Chancellor, University of KwaZulu Natal, said that the study on transformation using the equity index was result of many people's work and he wished to point them out. Strong support was offered from the DHET, which provided the data for the study. This was audited data for the years 2007 and 2011 reported by all the institutions of the DHET. He also thanked Mr Mahlubi Mabizela, Chief Director of the University Policy and Development, DHET, and Mr Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa, for their support throughout the project.
The study was conducted by Professor Kesh Govinder, Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu Natal, and Ms Normah Zondo, MSc student, University of KwaZulu Natal. Professor Govinder proposed to study transformation in South Africa through a mathematical formula. Ms Zondo analysed the statistics and the numbers. The study underpinned the work of the Transformation TOC. Data and results were discussed with the TOC.
On 7th May 2013, the initial formula and results were presented at the Transformation Managers' Forum of the Higher Education sector. After this presentation, Professors Makgoba, Professor Govinder, Ms Zondo, Mr Mazibela and other members of the Department were invited to present the same data to the DHET.
That was followed by an engagement with the Higher Education branch of the DHET in which the formula and the study were explained. The study was then presented to the Vice-Chancellors of the 23 universities. A report was produced from that meeting and the report hopefully was being given to the Members of Portfolio Committee.
The project received many inputs through consultations and presentations. It was also peer-reviewed by anonymous scholars in the field of mathematics and people involved in policy framework and transformation. A paper would be published in the South African Journal of Science by the end of 2013.
Professor Kesh Govinder, Dean and Head of School Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, presented the equity index and the ways in which it could monitor, guide and drive transformation for South African Universities. The main motivation for the study was enshrined in the South African Constitution, the 1997 Education White Paper and Employment Equity Legislation. Looking at the figures and providing a preliminary insight into the project's results, he said that the work on transformation was far from being completed.
Studying the 23 universities in South Africa and looking at enrolment, if the current rate and pace of transformation was maintained, an equity profile mirroring the national demographics could be reached in 12 years. Equity profile of graduating classes as reflecting the national demographics could be achieved in 14 years. Equity profiles in terms of overall university staff and academic staff could be achieved in respectively 43 and 40 years.
The equity index was a mathematical formula that used the idea of distance between two points - identified as the institution's demographics and the national demographic. He stressed that while so far the formula had been used to monitor higher education equity profiles, this idea could be applied in any other sector.
The study used national demographics because transformation was monitored nationally. This formula and the results allowed for a comparison of different institutions and the level of their transformation so that changes could be planned. The study utilised the data of the DHET and those submitted by the universities.
Using the concept of the distance between two points, the study showed that the bigger the number obtained the longer the distance to walk to transformation was.
The distance formula was presented and the distance between two points (the institution's demographics and national demographics) was given by a formula which used the same concept of Theorem of Pythagoras. The percentage of particular demographics for the institution (students or staff according to gender or race) was taken by subtracting it from the percentage of demographics at the national level and squaring the difference.
The same could be done with any other demographics. In this way the distance between the institution's demographics and the national demographics was calculated. The result was the distance left to travel to reach transformation with a non-racial, non-sexists and democratic society. In the study six categories had been taken into consideration: African, Coloured, Indian, White, male and female.
When the equity index was a small number for each category (race, gender, overall) this meant that the result approached the national demographics and therefore transformation. When the equity index was a big number, this meant that a long distance still needed to be walked to reach transformation.
The percentages used were all based on the 2011 census. Showing the percentages of demographics according to each category, Professor Govinder explained that if the equity index was between 0 and 5.3 the institution achieved transformation. An equity index of 145.7 indicated the worst case scenario. Results had also been divided into different quintile to understand how close each institution's percentage demographics was to the national demographics and to see how much work institutions still had to do.
To demonstrate how the index worked, he showed the results obtained calculating the demographics of the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces, the Executive, and Vice-Chancellors in South Africa against the national demographics, explaining that the smaller the number of the equity index the better it was. The Cabinet had the smallest number with a 16.5 and this meant that transformation in the national government was occurring faster than the Vice-Chancellors appointments that had an equity index of 55.
The data on the 23 universities was presented with a first glance into the situation of student enrolment and graduation. In terms of the racial enrolment equity index, the Central University of Technology (Free State) was doing very well with a 7.9, approaching the 5.3 value which was the ideal. The figures showed how Stellenbosch University was performing poorly in terms of racial enrolment with an index of 93.1. The study surprisingly showed that gender transformation was occurring faster in Higher Education.
The gender equity index for enrolment showed that Tshwane University of Technology, University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch University were performing well with an equity index of 0.6. The worst in terms of gender was the North West University with an equity index of 20.4 which was still not as bad as the racial figures.
This indicated that there was more equity in terms of gender than race. The results of the overall equity index, which took into account both gender and race, demonstrated that the Central University of Technology (Free State) was performing better than other universities with an equity index of 10.2. Stellenbosch University represented the institution that was less equitable with an equity index of 93.1.
The same analysis was done for graduation rates and it had similar results in terms of gender and racial equity index. The only difference was the gender profile that was not as good as the enrolment one. In order to get the racial equity efficiency, gender equity efficiency and the overall equity efficiency, researchers then subtracted the enrolment equity indexes from the graduation equity indexes to see if institutions were improving the profile of the students as they entered the system.
However, equity indexes got worse with all universities except for three institutions (the Central University of Technology, the Vaal University of Technology, and the Tshwane University of Technology). This meant that 20 universities out of 23 had a worse graduating class profile than the enrolled class profile. This meant that a particular profile of students was enrolled but a different profile graduated.
In terms of the staff situation, Professor Govinder explained the equity indexes for the University of Pretoria as an example. Overall the University of Pretoria had an index of 67.6 but there were serious concerns with the executive staff which had a rate of 93.4;
instructional/academic staff was 92.8. The University of Pretoria improved in terms of non-professional administration staff with a 67.4 and service staff with a 30.8. With this data, the university could then focus their interventions in terms of transformation. Among the best research universities, the University of Witwatersrand had the best profile for the overall staff, and in terms of academic staff the University of KwaZulu Natal had the best profile. However, these numbers were still high and interventions needed to take place.
Researchers then looked at the overall staff and academic staff in terms of gender and race. This showed that universities were performing better in terms of gender than in terms of race and that they were performing better in terms of overall staff than academic staff especially considering the racial equity profile.
One of the most debated issues was the uncertainty regarding quality once transformation occurred. Therefore, researchers looked at productivity in higher education and weighted that for equity. In terms of 2011 research outputs, the University of Pretoria was the most productive university followed by the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of KwaZulu Natal and University of Witwatersrand. If the number of weighted research output was divided by the equity index of the staff of the institution the situation changed and the equity weighted research output put the University of Witwatersrand in the first place, followed by the University of KwaZulu Natal and University of Pretoria.
Stellenbosch University, that before was ranked third in terms of outputs, was in the ninth position. However, since the only producers of knowledge in universities were the academic staff, researchers divided the number of weighted research outputs by the equity index of the academic staff of the same institution. And in this case University of KwaZulu Natal became first, followed by the University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, University of South Africa and Stellenbosch University in sixth position. This showed that despite the great research outputs, its poor equity profile did not allow them to have a decent equity weighted research output.
Another way to consider the data was by plotting the equity index against the output (see ‘Equity vs Research Output' plot in the presentation). The bottom left hand corner of the plot had institutions that had good equity but poor outputs. In the top left quadrant there were institutions with poor equity and poor outputs.
In the top right quadrant there were institutions with poor equity but good outputs and in the bottom right quadrant there were institutions with good equity and good outputs. According to the plot, only one institution was in that corner and it was the University of KwaZulu Natal even though improvements were still needed as it was close to the top right quadrant.
Since smaller institutions would necessarily produce less than the others, researchers considered the per capita research output (see ‘Equity vs Per Capita Output' plot in presentation). This plot showed a different picture. There was no university in the top left quadrant which was the one for poor equity and poor performance. In the bottom right quadrant which was for the good equity and good performance, there were three institutions: University of KwaZulu Natal, University of Fort Hare and University of Western Cape with University of Fort Hare being the best balance between equity and outputs.
In terms of most recent figures, researchers asked 20 universities to provide them with 2013 data for the council and senate. For the council profile University of KwaZulu Natal was first in the country in terms of equity while Stellenbosch University was 20 (out of 20 considered). In terms of senate, Mangosutho University of Technology was first and University of the Free State 20 (out of 20 considered). In terms of senate what was important to consider was that equity indexes were very high with the University of the Free State much closer to the 145.7 than to the 5.3 wished to achieve transformation.
This meant that there was a long way to transformation. For the University of KwaZulu Natal, researchers also considered the data from 2004 (between brackets in the section ‘Council and Senate Profiles (2013)' of the presentation). These figures showed how the University improved throughout the years reducing their equity index numbers considerably. The consideration of councils and senate also made researchers realise that the larger the senate the worst the equity index was. Since members were there by nomination, these figures could be improved provided institutions were committed to transformation.
It was generally believed that the council of university was the driver of transformation for the university overall and the senate the site of transformation of academic staff. Researchers argued that if the senate had a certain profile then there was an incentive to have an academic staff's profile in line with the senate. The same was applied to the council. Looking at the five best producing universities and comparing the overall profile to the council profile and comparing the academic staff profile to the senate profile, the results showed a different picture.
Council profiles were not necessarily driving the overall profile and the senate profile was not necessarily driving the academic staff profile. Looking at Stellenbosch University the council index was worse than the overall staff one. Its senate index was worse than its academic staff. This meant that the bodies who were supposed to drive transformation were not transformed themselves and definitely were not transforming the overall profile of institutions.
Looking at the data from 2007 and 2011 for the students and staff, researchers were able to project how long it would take for universities to reflect the national demographics. Researchers calculated the years needed for transformation if the pace of transformation between 2007 and 2011 had to be maintained. When considering enrolment, if there was a negative number in the ‘years of transformation' column this was a matter of serious concern as it meant that the institution was not moving towards the national demographics but was instead moving in the opposite direction.
Positive numbers for the other institutions meant that these universities were moving towards the right direction. For some of them however it might take too long. The University of Johannesburg only needed another six years but the University of North West 250. In terms of graduating class, there were four universities with negative indexes.
This meant that the University of Zululand, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Venda, and the Vaal University of Technology were going in the wrong direction. Stellenbosch University that had a negative index for enrolment was performing better on graduation with a positive index of 226 years needed for transformation even though it was a very slow pace. Only seven years were needed for the Central University of Technology to reach transformation and reflect national figures.
Regarding the staff, the situation seemed better. There were three institutions that were going in the wrong direction for the overall staff and these were the North West University, the University of the Free State and the Walter Sisulu University. Among those going in the right direction, the University of Cape Town was the institution with the slowest pace of transformation with 382 years needed to reflect national demographics.
The fastest pace was registered for the Vaal University of technology with only ten years left to transformation. For the academic staff there was only the North West University that was going in the wrong direction. The Vaal University of Technology had only seven years left while for the University of Pretoria it would take 371 years to reflect the national figures.
Considering the changes between 2007 and 2011, Professor Govinder noticed that there was not much difference in benchmarks. There was a significant improvement in student enrolment and graduation profile. There was also improvement for the overall, executive, academic, non professional, specialized support services staff of the universities. However, no improvement was registered in the service, technical and trades/craft staff profiles. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Fort Hare, Stellenbosch University and the University of Zululand were going in the wrong direction regarding student enrolment profile.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of Venda, the University of Zululand and the Vaal University of Technology had a worse student graduation profile compared to the 2007 one. Overall the North West University, University of Free State and Walter Sisulu University had a worse staff profile and the North West University was the only university with a worse academic staff profile.
Overall, for student demographics to match the national demographics there were still 12 years in terms of enrolment before transformation was achieved if the pace registered between 2007 and 2011 was maintained. To match the national demographic for race 8 years were needed, while when it came to gender universities were going in the wrong directions. For graduation, there were still 14 years needed, but gender was still a concern. For overall staff demographics, 43 were still needed for transformation and for academic staff 40 years.
Professor Govinder explained that the equity index was a quantitative measure to determine equity profiles. It could be used to measure transformation but also drive transformation by setting targets with respect to equity indexes obtained. More support needed to be given to the TOC to drive and guide such transformation. Areas of interventions included the six year enrolment planning. Knowing the equity indexes of the 23 universities, targets could be introduced to improve the enrolment and the graduation equity indexes. The same could be done for the overall university staff. Funding could be given for target transformation.
The Acting Chairperson asked how this study was received when it was presented to universities.
Professor Govinder replied that the report was welcomed and that some universities found that this was a useful tool to be used. Even the delegates of Stellenbosch University, one of the universities that according to this study still had a lot of work to do to achieve transformation, welcomed the study saying that finally they had a tool to show the university how bad the situation was and plan what needed to be done to improve it. Institutions had generally been very supportive.
Mr Joe Mpisi, Deputy President National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, member of the TOC, said that the only university that questioned the study was the North West University. There were a lot of challenges for them in terms of their equity index. The TOC was pleasantly surprised of the ways in which Stellenbosch University received the results.
Ms Nazeema Mohamed, member of the TOC, wanted to add that some institutions suggested the TOC to also adopt qualitative research for the study on the progress of transformation. These institutions advised that qualitative indicators and quantitative ones needed to be combined to obtain a better picture. The TOC was currently looking for a more balanced approach for the analysis.
Dr L Bosman (DA) recognised the importance of the study to understand what was happening in the country and the direction in which the country was going. The equity index was a tool that would allow institutions to measure themselves and understand how to change and adjust.
Universities, however, had their own statuses and standards and they wanted to have the best quality of people. Quality people were needed for universities but also for the country to progress. Basic education was not in good shape and this had an impact on the quality of students that were accessing tertiary and higher education. He asked if there was a way to look at who was accessing the higher education system.
Quality could not be sacrificed for the sake of transformation. Perhaps this could also be taken into account when calculating the transformation system and considering the availability of trained staff and its quality. It was difficult to bring this factor in but maybe a formula could be created to understand if some of the transformation targets could be sacrificed to maintain quality education.
Ms Mohamed wished to clarify her own comment as she was afraid that something may have been misunderstood. Her comment on qualitative analyses was not about compromising quality. Looking at the University of Witwatersrand, their research indicators and equity index showed that the institution had done very well. This showed that equity and quality was possible. There was no compromise. The University of Witwatersrand used funding to invest in equity to have more research grants and more support for academic staff. It was not about compromising quality. She just meant that a qualitative analysis needed to be done along the quantitative.
Mr B Bhanga (COPE) expressed appreciation for the research done that highlighted the pace and stages of the process of transformation. He was concerned that in universities equity information was not taken into consideration, especially by the council. He wondered if the tools that universities were using to monitor transformation were adequate enough. Transformation could not be monitored only through numbers. Universities were not showing much commitment to equity and the study presented at the meeting showed that. He wondered if there was enough funding to support transformation.
Funding for transformation should not only come from government but from institutions themselves who committed to change and also did that through their own resources as the example of the University of Witwatersrand showed. Another issue that needed to be considered was the fact that young back people did not want to work in universities but they wanted to work in government because of higher salaries. Universities were not investing to fund and support transformation.
The government should provide more funding but universities such as Rhodes University, the Stellenbosch University, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University had a stable financial situation but they were not committed to achieving transformation. He hoped that institutions were not relying on government funding only. He noticed that the government could also be involved in building a young generation of academics that reflected more the national demographics. What could the government do to make universities and careers in university attractive to the young generations?
He also asked in what ways the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the University of Fort Hare and others were worse with their student profile. Was it in term of diversity of student profiles?
The Acting Chairperson asked a question related to Mr Bhanga's intervention. She wondered if in South Africa there were no skills to fill academic positions given the high number of international staff. She asked how far the development of skills in the country was.
Professor S Mayatula (ANC) appreciated the study undertaken and acknowledged its importance. He wondered why Stellenbosch University had those results, what was behind that performance? The walk to transformation was very long. He asked how universities themselves could assess their progress and speed up transformation. Who was supposed to drive the change? Could the university use the formula and assess themselves? There needed to be a monitoring body to check the progress.
Mr C Moni (ANC) asked what pace of transformation was creating this kind of bad scenario. It seemed that universities needed to be assisted, but how could these universities be assisted if they were not doing anything to change? What needed to be done on a massive scale to have transformation in ten years rather than 200 years? He said that some institutions seemed to have something against the Constitution. What was the universities' consideration of the Constitution?
Ms D Chili, asked a question on the issue of gender. She said that gender seemed a generalised concept. What was meant by gender?
Mr S Makhubele (ANC) wondered whether everyone was ready to reconcile with what was happening in the country. If one said that in ten years' time the majority of academics would leave the system, most probably this would happen to white academics. Was the Committee able to reconcile with this process?
He also noted that there were no clear recommendations coming from the report. It was very general with no recommended step. He wondered if there was an enforcement tool in universities. He was concerned that universities would raise issues of institutional autonomy and academic freedom to avoid committing to change. Was there any mechanism or body that could drive transformation from outside universities by checking their progress?
On the remuneration, he agreed with Mr Bhanga saying that there were very few Africans or black academics that would stay in universities because of remuneration issues. Was this issue looked at to incentivise young Africans to work as academics? Were there figures to show how many left academic institutions to access government jobs for instance?
The Acting Chairperson said that there were questioned that were addressed to the DHET. Therefore she asked both the Department and the TOC to reply to the questions.
Mr Mahlubi Mabizela, Chief Director of University Policy and Development, DHET, said that this report was much needed. Transformation was not only about the numbers and how many black people were now in the system compared to 1994. It was also about how many were accessing universities as postgraduate for instance. The issue of university autonomy was always a risk but that was dealt with. The previous day the Minister met with the chairs of council and the Minister suggested to the chairs that transformation should be dealt with in council meetings. This showed how the Department was addressing transformation.
On the use of population data against which the calculation was made, that data was the Department's on matters of graduate and enrolment. Issues were raised as the figures used may not have taken into consideration the equivalent age groups that were to be found in universities (18 to 24 for students for instance).
He said that some of the comments and questions that Committee Members raised were also raised in other fora during the presentations of the research. There was a concern for the percentage of Africans in the system that seemed to be about 13% compared to about 51% of Whites. This was very low also in other sectors.
Mr Mvuyo Tom, Vice-Chancellor University of Fort Hare and member of the TOC, replied on the question of remuneration amongst academics. There was no thorough research done on academics' salaries and salaries in other sectors in South Africa. Higher Education South Africa (HESA) was conducting a study and the results would have come out in the first quarter of the next year. It looked at all categories of employees in institutions of higher education. The study would compare salaries across institutions but also looked at the equivalent salary that people may be paid in the public sector.
He replied on the reception of the report. Some institutions challenged the findings and said that the research needed to be reconsidered.
On the question of institutions performing worse for student profiles, Mr Tom said that this did not reflect the actual picture. The University of Fort Hare for instance was not amongst the worst in terms of enrolment. Perhaps the University of the Free State was. According to him, it was a matter of acronym misspelling. This was why some argued that the researchers should reconsider their findings. However, he also said that the research needed to be incorporated into the work of the TOC as a new tool that could be used.
In terms of research and transformation, Mr Tom noticed that most institutions that were doing poorly as regards total research outputs were the University of Technology whose focus was not so much on research, previously disadvantaged institutions in the country and small institutions. But he said that overall numbers did not reflect the right picture and it was the per capita outputs that mattered.
He replied to the questions of sufficient skills in South Africa to supply all universities. Generally higher education was a very internationalised sector both within and beyond South Africa.
Many countries had international academics. In South Africa, the aim was to produce more local academics. A study was conducted by HESA on the production of a new generation of academics in South Africa and the National Planning Commission included that in their report. While it was good to have more nationals, it was also important that international staff was there too. Ideas needed to circulate and this was how research could progress.
Replying to the question of the Constitution, Mr Tom said that if institutions were aligning themselves to the Constitution, transformation would occur faster.
On the qualitative issues, social research was also important. But numbers were equally important and institutions needed to understand the impact (in terms of years for instance) of their policies and changes adopted.
The Acting Chairperson agreed that transformation was happening. However, she was concerned that transformation was slow. How could it happen faster?
Mr Mpisi said that very few institutions had the transformation charter. This was a challenge for the TOC. In terms of oversight, he said that the TOC's role was to produce the national framework for the sector but it acknowledged that some institutions were not committed to transformation.
One of the worries that South Africa faced was that academics were ageing or exiting academia and there were not many young people, especially Africans, ready to enter universities. 25% of graduates, most of whom were blacks, were not being utilised by any institutions not even the private sectors. He proposed to train them to be academics in different universities.
On the issue of quality that could be sacrificed for the sake of transformation, he said that this was not the case. There were good people who could close the transformation gap. The problem was that universities had gatekeepers that hampered transformation.
Professor Makgoba said that volume of research on its own was a good measure to understand the quality of the institutions. On the salaries of academics, there were two studies that had been done. One was a United Nations (UN) study and the other a study by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. These studies found that South African academics were the third most paid in the world.
He said that equity was only one part of transformation, but a very important one. To have an equal South Africa, equality issues needed to be addressed and equality was measured through equity. More importantly, one could not change the culture of an institution without changing the equity of that institution.
Professor Makgoba said that the nature of the study was not to make recommendations but to provide scientific evidence of the progress towards transformation. Researchers did not have the power to make policies but provided knowledge so that policy makers could create the right policies. Enforcement was on the government, parliament and policy makers.
A very generic way forward could be starting from the six year enrolment plan that all universities were doing for the next six years. This was an opportunity not to be missed. The plan was going to be signed with the DHET. It was an enrolment for students but it could also be an enrolment for staff.
Some universities were not producing knowledge and quality graduates. At the policy level something needed to be done as the country needed quality people to lead the progress. The data of the research showed that there were universities that needed improvement.
It was not only a matter of funding. Problems were not solved by money but by ideas. All universities were given a programme by the government. The DHET could provide directives on how universities could spend their budget reserving some funding to transformation.
Another important consideration was that leadership was also a key skill to drive transformation within institutions. The fortune of universities was determined by the leadership. The country had to interrogate what kind of leadership institutions had and wanted to achieve.
The Acting Chairperson agreed that also leadership was fundamental.
Ms N Mohamed replied to the question about the tools needed to monitor and evaluate progress on transformation. In South Africa there was legislation on employment equity since 1998. Universities were required to have an employment equity report and an employment equity plan and this had been in place for a long time. There was a governance problem. Even if there were tools in place, if the tools were not used no progress could be reached. What were the problems in assessing the progress? What were the tools that could be used?
What resources were in place? The tools were in place, but did universities and the country had the capacity to drive the change? The solution was to find the ways to build capacity at the level of universities and government. She proposed the Portfolio Committee ask universities to hand in their equity plan as equity was regulated by legislation. Legislation was a tool that could be used to enforced transformation.
Mr Bhanga wished that the Minister could be there to discuss this. He said that universities needed the will to change but also recognised that interventions needed to be made. Now that the research was done, how could transformation be implemented? The Committee needed to discuss these issues with the Minister.
The Acting Chairperson said that the Minister would have a strategic meeting on 12th November where all these issues would be addressed.
Mr Makhubele said that the discussion was going beyond the purpose of the meeting. The aim was to understand more and how transformation was being achieved. Intervention would be addressed in another moment. Perhaps the meeting could be concluded.
The Acting Chairperson said that it was not fair to conclude the meeting until all questioned were asked and addressed.
Professor Makgoba said that when researchers started the study, they did not know what the results would be. The University of Fort Hare was leading the way in terms of providing equity and high level knowledge production in the country. Now that the Portfolio Committee knew that, the question was: what was the Committee going to do? One often heard about other universities as leading. But the University of Fort Hare showed that it could deliver equity and quality.
The formula provided knowledge of areas of potential progress and improvement. With this study and formula universities could now know where they were performing well and where they needed interventions. The study also allowed comparisons of different institutions and this was an opportunity for universities to learn from one another.
The study was a scientific base for the Committee to use and to work on.
Mr Tom replied on the question of gender. It was the same as male and female. If there were a number of males and a number of females in the first year and then graduates profile was checked, it was possible to see how many of them qualified. In this way one could also understand if there was the same proportion of males and females. Most institutions did not have equity. Universities may be closer to equity on enrolment but not for graduating students.
Professor Mayatula said that this was an important tool. On the equity and research outputs, was it fair to say that the University of Technology, which was not a research-oriented university, was not productive?
Mr Mabizela replied that research outputs were considered in volume and per capita. In the case of the University of Technology the reasons for being in the bottom left quadrant of the plot was because it was not established as a research university. Another reason for being there was because of the qualifications of its academic staff.
The DHET had a research development grant and for all those institutions receiving the grant the requirement was that they used the research development grant for staff and to improve the academic staff qualifications. There was also a teaching development grant for staff development and improvement of tools for academic teaching. The more the DHET was getting reports from the TOC and the more the Department would look into linking funding with issues of equity in terms of race and gender. Institutions that were in the top right quadrant should partner with institutions on the bottom left in research collaborations.
The Acting Chairperson asked Professor Govinder to clarify a question on the slide of the National Student Equity index 2011 on the graduation and enrolment.
Professor Govinder replied that, for instance, for the University of South Africa, the enrolment fell within the first quintile and graduation fell in the second quintile. This meant that there was a gap between the students enrolled and the students graduating.
The Acting Chairperson concluded the session thanking the researchers from KwaZulu Natal and the TOC for the report and said that the committee would engage with the report.
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