The Annual Report is the most comprehensive tool via which Universities South Africa accounts to its membership and stakeholder groups. HESA published its first annual report in 2010.
USAf Annual Report 2022
This year saw universities’ operations return to relative normalcy, thanks to Government’s termination of the state of disaster in April. We report on the sector’s transformation to blended teaching and learning and USAf’s achievements in the year under review — including the change of leadership at the USAf Office.
Emerging from the CoViD-19 challenges of 2020 and 2021, we’ve learned the importance of embracing digital transformation for global and national adaptability. USAf’s leadership and management development programme will soon embark on an initiative to empower academics in technology-based teaching. With heightened appreciation for collaborative and responsive issues management, we report on USAf’s achievements and milestones realised during 2021.
Notwithstanding the unprecedented disruption of set teaching, learning, research, and engagement practices of higher education systems throughout the world, by finding solutions together against the challenges presented by the CoVID-19 pandemic, South Africa’s universities weathered the storm as a collective. This report highlights the lessons learnt, with hope that the sector will continue on this trajectory for its own long-term sustainability.
The date 31 December 2019 marks the end of the first five years since our organisation assumed a new name and corporate identity. It also marks the end of the USAf Strategic Framework, 2015 – 2019 era. It is therefore fitting that we report on 2019 within the context of the concluding five-year strategic planning horizon
As instability continued to rock universities in 2018, in reviewing the year we cannot neglect to express our concern for the sector’s sustainability in the medium to long term. The high turnover of senior leadership at public institutions and the diminishing numbers of international students could well be linked to persisting volatility on our campuses. 2018 was, nonetheless, another fruitful year, on which basis we do report on USAf’s accomplishments and future outlook.
Once again, USAf’s perennial preoccupation with funding and long-term sustainability of South Africa’s public universities dominated its activities in 2017. This clearly manifested in the priority projects and programmes adopted or continued in the year under review. We report on our 2017 achievements and our sustainability concerns which multiplied following the former state president’s declaration of “free” education on 16 December, for all students with a family income of less than R350 000.
After the turbulence experienced within public universities during late 2015, which flared up again and peaked in the first and third quarters of 2016, it is no surprise that the violent student protests of 2016 occupied centre stage in USAf’s key stakeholder engagement activities of 2016. We nonetheless notched noteworthy milestones in advocacy, policy influence and on strategic projects and programmes, and duly report on those to our stakeholders.
HESA turned 10 in 2015. The celebration of this milestone coincided with the organisation also adopting a new strategic direction, which translated into changing names, corporate identity and modus operandi. In this edition, the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer explain the changing HESA mandate and strategic direction; the rationale thereof and revisions in USAf’s game plan, going forward.
During 2014, the issue of inadequate funding to universities was high on HESA’s agenda, as is extensively reported on in the Annual Report for the year. The report otherwise chronicles milestones and achievements realised in the context of on-going support to universities, while also sharing the outlook for 2015 and beyond.
Among other matters, this Report reflects HESA’s preoccupation with the ageing professoriate; ongoing attempts at building the next generation of academics and the question of remuneration of academics. We report on our activities in support of the higher education sector; partnerships and strategic alliances as well as our governance structures and administrative systems.
Following the publishing in the regulatory environment, of policy and legislative pieces with direct impact on the higher education sector, 2012 was a particularly challenging year. The Protection of State Information Bill, the Higher Education and Training Amendment Bill, the Review of the Funding Framework for Universities and the Draft Reporting Regulations for Public Higher Education Institutions, were some of the main themes for advocacy and stakeholder engagement. We report on HESA responses to these, and on other activities of the organisation in support of the higher education sector.
With some of our member institutions placed under administration in 2011, this Report seeks to find common ground on the stewardship of our universities. There are calls for a closer working relationship with government in pursuit of common higher education ideals. We report on the substantial outputs of the HESA Board, Strategy Groups, Communities of Practice and Sector Support Programmes.
With the formation of the Department of Higher Education and Training during the year under review, Vice-Chancellors compiled a Strategic Framework 2010–2020 to shape their work over the coming decade. We report on these developments as well as the achievements of the HESA Board, Strategy Groups, Communities of Practice and programmes in support of our member institutions.