The Vudec merger: a recording of what was and a reflection on gains and losses

  • HM van der Merwe


The restructuring of higher education in South Africa is being dually steered by an equity and a merit imperative. In the move towards creating a single dedicated distance-education institution, the outcome of the merged incorporation of Vista University Distance Education Campus (Vudec) into the University of South Africa (UNISA) implied the obliteration of the Vudec culture. This has warranted the recording of the Vudec culture based on the valid need to document the existence of an institution of higher education over a period of 21 years. It has also warranted an assessment of gains and losses as a result of the merger. Based on literature and a qualitative study undertaken in Vudec, the Vudec institutional culture has been documented and gains and losses for Vudec students and staff determined. It is argued that although significant gains were made, such as better opportunities for students and staff due to improved resources, a serious loss has been incurred in the disappearance of the under-developed student corps of practising teachers. Apart from not fully accomplishing the equity goal, this loss also jeopardises merit achievements.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 21 (3) 2007: pp. 537-551

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eISSN: 1011-3487