The 3rd USAf Higher Education Conference:

The Future of the University

Message from the USAf Chief Executive Officer

Dr Phethiwe Matutu

I am delighted to extend an invitation to you to attend the 3rd USAf Higher Education Conference that will be held on 9-11 October 2024 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Convention Centre in Pretoria.

The theme for this year’s conference is “The Future of the University”.  As the higher education sector, we are facing enormous challenges of sustainability in the face of slow economic growth — post-CoViD, and the impact of digitalisation on our work and careers, in general. A sluggish economy has resulted in high levels of unemployment and declining state subsidies. This happens in a context where more students in South Africa require bursary support from Government. How universities respond to these and global changes (including climate variability, adaptability and environmental sustainability) will determine not only the future of the university but that of humanity. It is imperative that universities ensure their own sustainability within this context.

AI is making waves in the world. This talks to what future universities will look like and offer. Universities must remain at the forefront of the digital revolution and map their future paths while doing so. Slow adaptation to rapid digitalisation is not the answer. The Higher Education Conference is tailored for university leaders, researchers, policymakers, educators, and industry experts. Attendees can look forward to robust discussions, engaging plenaries, interactive parallel sessions, enriching workshops and exhibitions.

Your participation is essential as we navigate the future of universities in the digital era. Register now to secure your spot and contribute to advancing higher education.

Universities South Africa (USAf) proudly presents the 3rd USAf Higher Education Conference, hosted from the 9th to the 11th of October 2024. After five years, the conference returns in person at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.

The conference builds on the success of our inaugural conference in 2019 on “Reinventing SA’s Universities for the Future” and the innovative hybrid model of the 2021 event, “The Engaged University”.  This year’s conference will delve into the pivotal theme of “The Future of the University recognising that in the light of global and local crises and unprecedented technological advancements, South African universities may well be at a turning point in history.

Unsurprisingly, there are presently numerous conferences about the future of the university. This one will be different. It is designed to be more participatory than the usual conference format; it will acknowledge and map what is unknown and what needs attention; and it will provide a strongly South African take on global trends which inevitably impact the sector. It will do so while recognising the specific local histories and context shaping the sector. Keynote speakers will be both local and global, selected to be both insightful and provocative.

Themes for the plenary sessions include “The Global Future of Universities” and “Critical Aspects Shaping the Future of Humanity in Higher Education. Tailored for a diverse audience, including university leaders, educators, researchers, policymakers, and representatives from the tertiary sector, this year’s conference will focus on actively shaping the future of higher education.

22 May – 31 July 2024

Daily registrations:
Date: 22 May – 31 July 2024

Student Registration:
Date: 22 May – 31 July 2024

Invited Speakers:
Date: 22 May – 31 July 2024
No Charge

Pre-Conference Workshops:
To be confirmed
Cost: No charge

Please note the following:

  • An invoice will be emailed to you after registration for payment. Payment must be received within 30 days.
  • Registrations are non-transferable and payment is required to complete your registration.
  • All speakers must register for the event although there is no registration fee payable for speakers.
  • Payment must be made into the USAf Bank Account in South African Rand.
  • Conference sessions
  • Access to Exhibitions
  • Refreshments and lunch
  • Fringe events

Workshops aligned to the conference theme will be available.

CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria
Pretoria is nestled in the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains and enjoys a reputation as an academic city and centre of research. The city is home to a diverse range of leisure facilities including the Freedom Park Heritage Site, Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Nelson Mandela Statue (Union Buildings) and the Pretoria Art Museum. A little further afield in Johannesburg is Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum, to mention but a few.

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Your participation is essential as we navigate the future of universities in the digital era. Register now to secure your spot and contribute to advancing higher education.

    Will be open from 22 May 2024 until 31 July 2024

  • DATE:
    09-11 October 2024

    In person

    (22 May – 31 July 2024)
    Registration fee: R2,850.00
    Daily registration: R950.00
    Student registrations: R700.00