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Knowledge production in south African Higher education University of Pretoria Feb 2012. Juma - International and South African Policy Contexts. World wide a emphasis on knowledge policies as higher education is regarded as more important in the knowledge economy/society

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Knowledge production in

south African Higher education

University of Pretoria

Feb 2012

juma international and south african policy contexts
Juma - International and South African Policy Contexts
  • World wide a emphasis on knowledge policies as higher education is regarded as more important in the knowledge economy/society
  • Nico, with input from Peter Maassen from the University of Oslo, will review these developments
  • Nico will make some comments on how well SA is doing in terms of knowledge production
  • Andre du Toit will do a brief reflection on the Doctorate (summary in bag)

International Knowledge Policies – Maassen

Starting point = New conditions in the global economy

Growing focus of national (regional – supranational) policy makers

and other central socio-economic actors on the university as a

driver for economic growth through its role as source for innovation

and job creation.

Consequence = Two new university governance aspects

First targeted policies for and investments in universities’ research

capacity are assumed to be needed in order to improve the global

competitiveness of a specific economy.

Second, targeted policies for and investments in connecting the

enhanced research capacity of universities to the knowledge needs

of society (incl. private and public sector companies and

organisations) in order to ensure the link of new knowledge to

economic growth (innovation & new jobs ).

«Balancing academic excellence with economic relevance»


Knowledge EconomyCentral role of knowledge in government policiesFocus in Knowledge Policies on:1. Global economic competitiveness2. Innovative capacity of societies3. High Level Skills and Competencies of Labour force (Knowledge workers)Core issue: Most effective investment of public funds

the relationship between scientific excellence and economic development
The relationship between scientific excellence and economic development

(R = 0.714, P = 0.218)

(R = 0.961, P = 0.002)*

Data source: Thomson Reuters InCitesTM (21 September 2010); The World Bank Group (2010)

Vuyani Lingela, 24 November 2011


Knowledge PoliciesGrowing need to integrate sector policies in overall knowledge policiesNeed to coordinate university/HE policies with professional/vocational education, R&D/science, technology, innovation, labour, and business policies

modes of coordination braun 2008 herana 2011
Modes of coordination – (Braun 2008; Herana 2011)
  • Coordination of knowledge policies needs to take place at the level of both policy formulation and policy implementation (Braun)
  • Negative coordination is a non-cooperative game that leads … to the mutual adjustment of actors, but not to concerted action nor to cohesiveness of policies
  • Positive coordination goes beyond mutual adjustment… policy integration’ (the coordination of goals) and ‘strategic coordination’
  • Positive coordination require a Pact, does not absolutely need a whole-government perspective, but a perspective that is agreed upon by a number of relevant political actors.
  • Methods: Departmental Mergers, Coordination Structures, Networks and Visions
dis coordinated knowledge policies
Dis-coordinated Knowledge Policies
  • Department of Higher Education and Training
    • Shocked by Chet’s finding of 3 million NEET’s and have become ‘overwhelmed’ with FET and training
    • In Ministers budget speech referred to research on page 12 of 13 and never used knowledge economy and Africa, not to mention the globe (a local communist)
  • Department of Science and Technology
    • Opening line knowledge economy and global competitive
    • Presses all the knowledge production buttons
    • Never spoke beyond pleasantries to DHET advisor
  • Two Departments focus on different and over-lapping aspects of the system, without any co-ordination
national planning commission nov 2011 functions of he 1
National Planning Commission (Nov 2011): Functions of HE (1)

Higher education is the major driver of the information-knowledge system, linking it with economic development...Universities are key to developing a nation. They play three main functions in society.

Firstly, they educate and train people with high-level skills for the employment needs of the public and private sectors.

Secondly, universities are the dominant producers of new knowledge, and they critique information and find new local and global applications for existing knowledge. Universities also set norms and standards, determine the curriculum, languages and knowledge, ethics and philosophy underpinning a nation's knowledge-capital. South Africa needs knowledge that equips people for a society in constant social change

npc functions 2
NPC: Functions (2)

"Thirdly, given the country's apartheid history, higher education provides opportunities for social mobility and simultaneously strengthens equity, social justice and democracy. In today's knowledge society, higher education underpinned by a strong science and technology innovation system is increasingly important in opening up people's opportunities." (p262)

For the first time post 1994 knowledge production and equity are linked by stating that "high quality knowledge production cannot be fully realized with a low student participation rate" (p274).

Also universities are not mainly fro individual mobility or for equity redress - equity is mentioned last and transformation in the Castells sense

npc knowledge enthusiasm
NPC: Knowledge Enthusiasm

The NPC is so enthusiastic about knowledge that it declares that "knowledge production is the rationale of higher education" (p271) - indeed a radical departure from the traditional 'rationale' of higher education in Africa, that is, disseminating (teaching) knowledge from somewhere else.

Posters outside Parliament for Thursday’s State of the Nation:

Knowledge Economy and Development Opportunities.

At ANC 100th Zuma said: “Education and skills are the key priority for our people”

These are huge steps away from HE as individual mobility and an equity instrument – but in State of Nation announced the biggest infrastructure project in history – not a word of KE

npc knowledge policies
NPC Knowledge Policies
  • the notion of knowledge production consists of a combination of PhD education and research output.
  • a target of tripling the number of doctoral gradates from 1,420 to 5,000 per annum, and increasing the proportion of academic staff with PhDs from 34% to 75%
  • a number of world-class centres and programmes should be developed within the national system of innovation and the higher education sector.
  • a new future scholars programme needs to be developed, both to increase the proportion of staff with PhDs and to meet the increasing demand for professional PhDs in the non-university research, financial and services sectors
  • role of science councils should be reviewed in light of the world-wide tendency to align, or merge, research councils with universities
npc differentiation
NPC: Differentiation
  • deals with the worldwide policy debate about the concentration of resources by proposing world-class centers and programmes across institutions (High science - Ska)
  • advises the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Funding of Universities that such revisions should be based on the needs of a differentiated system with adequate provision for both teaching and research
  • requires flexible pathways for student mobility between institutions
  • the Higher Education Quality Committee should finally start developing a core set of quality indicators for the whole system;
dhet green paper
DHET Green Paper

Research and innovation

  • Economy depends on innovation and technology absorption
  • While investment in research has tripled, there has not been a commensurate increase in personnel
  • Total knowledge output has increased 64% (2000-2009) but the system must become more productive
  • Poverty is a significant constraint on masters and PhD studies – students under pressure to obtain jobs??
  • Drastically increase number and quality of masters and PhD’s
  • Need for increased coordination between DHET and DST
  • Caliber and workload of academic staff must be addressed
  • Long term plan for renewing the academic profession - doctorates for academics and professions
npc and dhet the good the bad and the incomprehensible
NPC and DHET: The Good, the Bad and the Incomprehensible
  • Differentiation (whatever form) is official
  • Knowledge production (PhD and research output must increase – different counts of research outputs) – at last recognising the knowledge producing role of the university
  • Big focus on doctorate – for academics (target more than 60%), professions research councils and other sectors (finance)
  • Good quality undergraduate education – including infrastructure funds for labs, libraries, housing
  • Improvement of through put – efficiency
  • Dramatic increase in participation rate – mainly in FET
  • Mission and profile differentiation
  • Creation of a connected system
  • Improved Coordination between DSHT and DHET (HESA meeting)
  • More funding for higher education
ten year innovation plan
Ten Year Innovation Plan
  • The Government of South Africa is implementing the Ten Year Innovation Plan which includes five “Grand Challenges” that build on and expand the country’s research capabilities (Minister Naledi Pandor, 2009).
    • The first grand challenge is to tap the potential of the bio-economy for the pharmaceutical industry.
    • The second grand challenge is to build on investments in space science and technology.
    • The third grand challenge is to move towards the use of renewable energy.
    • The fourth grand challenge is to play a leading, regional role in climate change.
    • The fifth and final grand challenge is termed “human and social dynamics”.

Vuyani Lingela, 24 November 2011

knowledge production sa international performance
Knowledge Production: SA International Performance

According to the NPC:

  • SA produces 28 PhD graduates per million of the population while UK =288; US = 201; Australia=264; Korea=187; Brazil = 48
  • World Bank: SA has tripled R&D investment since 1994, but the total number of FTE researchers increased by only 33%. SA has approximately 1.5 FTE researchers per 1000 employed; countries with similar ratio of R&D to GDP expenditure like Portugal = 4.8 and Italy = 3.6
  • NPC goals: Increase PhD graduates from 1420 to 5000 p.a and increase percentage of staff with PhD’s from 34% to 75%

* Mauritius enroll large numbers of students as MPhil students, and depending on their performance only some graduate as PhD students

  • Unprecedented shift from HE as instrument to advance equity and individual mobility to HE as crucial part of development
  • Policy recognition of importance of coordination of policy and implementation, but little sign of positive cooperation yet
  • SA a Medium knowledge producing system, rated around 30th in the world
  • SA has a few global high visibility big science projects
  • SA seems to be doing better in research output than in producing doctorates
  • Over –enthusiasm about dramatic increase in doctoral production
  • Next session on the Doctoral Project will explore this ‘doctoral exuberance’ through different empirical prisms

(Alan Greenspan initially attributed the 2008 crash to ‘irrational market exuberance’).

8. Andre will do a brief historical reflection on the doctorate