On Tuesday, 31 May 2016 CHED celebrated Africa Day with an insightful seminar by Professor Jenni Case of the department of chemical engineering. The annual Africa Day celebration is organised by the CHED Transformation Events Committee - part of the overarching faculty Transformation Committee whose purpose is to advise on, and monitor, implementation of structures and processes for facilitating a process of transformation within CHED.
The seminar was followed by a braai-style lunch, in keeping with the theme, for colleagues to reflect and engage with one another, rare with the ever-increasing pace of the higher education landscape. Much to the delight of the audience the beautiful voices of the UCT Choir for Africa filled the halls of the ZK Matthews Gallery in Hoerikwaggo while they snacked away.
Both the seminar and lunch were meant to leave colleagues with an appetite for debate. This year’s seminar, entitled ‘Higher education and social justice: asking the ‘education questions’ was particularly relevant to CHED as it is important to continue “engaging with issues that the university is grappling with” according to Professor Madiba.
During her presentation Professor Case contemplated the relationship between the university and the world around it stating that society needs to change and universities themselves need to assess what roles they can, and should play. In the same breath she emphasised that “universities cannot be the central locus for producing this change,” what is needed is graduates who will go out into society and “affect this change”. Her presentation focussed on asking the right ‘educational questions’ and one of her own: What are the particular dynamics of the expansion of higher education in South Africa - how is a system that is massified early on for a small racially defined segment adjusting (or not), left the audience pondering as they made their way to lunch.
Overall it was a day filled with good food, good people and engaging discussions.