A new contract between higher education and society

  • J. Favish


This article seeks to explain some of the causes of the disjuncture between the policy goals related to the role of higher education in social and economic development on the one hand, and the practices of higher education institutions on the other hand. This will be done by suggesting that the lack of conceptual clarity regarding the meaning of ";responsiveness"; contributes to the relative marginalisation of the social dimensions of ";responsiveness";. The absence of appropriate coordinating structures at regional and local level for facilitating an integrated approach to the implementation of the array of government social policies makes it difficult to achieve synergy between the programmes offered at higher education institutions and the development needs of society. Some policy gaps, impacting on the seriousness with which higher education institutions views their social responsibilities, are identified. The manner in which the various imperatives of the national plan appear to have been prioritized and addressed by the department has reinforced the relative marginalisation of the developmental role of higher education. The lack of capacity in many higher education institutions to drive comprehensive transformation initiatives is also highlighted.

(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 24-30)

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eISSN: 1011-3487