Unisa welcomes review of its mandate by Nzimande

The University of South Africa (Unisa) has welcomed an announcement by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande to appoint an independent ministerial task team to review its mandate.

The team, appointed for a six-month period, will focus on the university's institutional mandate and scope.

It will analyse Unisa's capacity, systems and organisational structure in relation to its mandate and mission as the largest open distance learning institution in Africa that enrolled nearly a third of all South African students in the public university system.

"The university acknowledges and accepts the appointment of the task team.

"This matter was previously a subject of discussion between the Unisa council and the minister," it said.

Unisa said its council and management pledged to provide all the support that the task team required, with the hope that the process would enable the university to achieve the desired higher levels of performance as stated in its strategic plan.

This comes as Nzimande also appointed a task team on the remuneration of vice-chancellors and senior executives.

The team will submit the research work undertaken and its findings by 31 March 2021.

Nzimande said Unisa, given its size "of 407,759 students in 2020 and growing" was "clearly too big to fail".

He said his department was also working on a review of the Higher Education Act.

"This will assist, among others, to deal with governance collapses in some of the institutions as a result of the conduct of some of the members in governance structures. I am concerned especially about institutions that are periodically placed under administration."

He said 15 independent assessors had been appointed since 1998 for a number of universities in terms of the act as a result of poor institutional governance and management.

This article first appeared on Rekord North and was republished with permission.

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