THE NATIONAL Plan for Higher Education (NPHE) is being implemented through three linked processes: the restructuring of the institutional landscape; revision of the funding formula, types of institutions and regional groupings of institutions.
The last point was the subject of discussion at last week's Vice-Chancellor's Open Planning Forum, where speaker Dr Jim Leatt, Executive Director of the Cape Higher Education Committee (CHEC,) outlined some of the challenges facing higher education in the province.
Leatt focused his discussion on the inherent probability that joint regional planning and collaborative provision will become a significant feature of the Western Cape higher education system. "There is already a great deal of collaboration between institutions in the Western Cape and elsewhere in the country," he said, explaining that in the past the problem had always been that no method existed to prioritise where the focus of collaborations should be in academic programmes.
CHEC has devised a model/method that will give guidance on the way forward in regional academic collaborations. "The first step was to build a model that would prioritise areas of collaboration, that will benefit us and bring about efficiency," he explained.
Leatt went on to talk about the various organisational and logistic barriers to cross-institutional provision, and how they could possibly be overcome. He concluded that, in order to get the ball rolling, CHEC wanted to formalise some of the annual meetings it held with the various academic VC's to give overall direction to regional collaboration initiatives. " What we are proposing is that the CHEC board of directors essentially be the management of the board for the region, and assist in driving any of the prioritised collaborations forward," he said.