I chaired a Programme Advisory Committee meeting for the Academy@Work at the University of Johannesburg this afternoon. The A@W programme used to operate across and outside of traditional university boundaries providing access to courses and programmes that didn’t fall into the traditional higher education framework.
The university was requiring that the A@W pull back from the swampy lowlands of real problems to the traditional high ground education programmes (Donald Schön p2). So the A@W team had developed the first Human Resources Development qualifications in South Africa. Interesting. There is a qualification relating to Education, Training and Development. But not for HRD.
But their challenge is to replace revenue generating programmes that fund staff salaries etc. while transitioning to a new landscape.
As part of the discussion we had inputs from the sometimes violent processes at Wits University and the DHET’s forum earlier this week, as well as the proactive approach taken by UJ’s vice chancellor since late 2015. This last one (and other related initiatives) could explain why the levels of protest (and violence) at UJ are far lower than at Wits.
Our meeting eventually focused on how the intellectual property developed by the A@W over the last few years could be transformed into new initiatives and programmes.
The underlying challenge is to find out how higher education could be transformed to meet a wider range of audiences and objectives as well as a broader continuum of learning without compromising its key values.