Plan to nurture humanities and social sciences in universities

In an attempt to cure stagnant enrolments and high failure rates in the humanities and social sciences at universities, the South African government plans to establish an institute that will encourage academics to network, share information and undertake research, writes Tebogo Monama for Sowetan.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande told Sowetan he would like to see preparations for the establishment of an institute of humanities and social sciences under way by June. To be opened next year, the institute will also be responsible for advising the government on issues affecting the field.

"The model of the institute will be that academics can network. They do not have to leave their current institutions but they can use the institute for networking, research and teaching. For now we do not foresee full-time staff,” Nzimande said.

The idea of the institute was triggered by a report Nzimande commissioned into the state of the humanities and social sciences, which painted a bleak picture – of large classes, too few and poorly qualified staff, badly run departments, high failure rates and poor resources, facilities and support.
Full report on the Sowetan Live site