Transformation at UCT under the spotlight

18 July 2008 | Story by Megan Morris

Prof Martin Hall and Dr Max Price
Hard look: Prof Martin Hall and VC Dr Max Price at the meeting with the ministerial committee

The ministerial committee on discrimination in higher education, set up by Minister of Education Naledi Pandor in the wake of the video row at the University of the Free State, visited UCT last week to see how this university's transformation process is going.

Over the visit on 15 July, the committee, led by Dr Crain Soudien, met separately with three UCT constituencies - the university executive and members of Council, student leaders and house committee representatives, as well staff representatives, including academic and professional staff.

Professor Martin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for transformation, had prepared a document for the committee chronicling UCT's transformation initiatives.

In their meetings, the committee posed some hard questions. Including why UCT is, to all appearances, failing to hold on to black, especially African, staff.

"As someone still very new to UCT, the visit gave me a chance to see how 'other outsiders' view transformation at UCT, as compared to the insider's view I enjoyed at the Khuluma workshop recently," said Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price. "It's obvious that there are some big questions we have to answer, and a lot of hard work we still have ahead of us.

"To some extent it is precisely because we are identifying the problem that we appear, both internally and externally as having a long way to go.

"I strongly urge all UCT staff who have not had the opportunity to participate in a Khuluma workshop to sign up for one. It's really a worthwhile experience."

Dr Crain Soudien and Professor Sipho Seepe
Open book: Dr Crain Soudien and Professor Sipho Seepe, president of the South African Institute of Race Relations, led the ministerial committee

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