New university bill aims to improve accountability

Parliament was told in a briefing last week that proposed changes to laws governing tertiary institutions should not be seen as a "blank cheque" giving Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande unrestricted powers, writes Bekezela Phakathi for BDLive.

The controversial draft Higher Education Amendment Bill, which was sneaked into parliament at the end of last year, has prompted fears in the sector that the autonomy of universities is at risk. This comes amid increased militancy among university students that began with the #FeesMustFall protests.

The changes propose to give the minister the power to determine transformation objectives and put mechanisms in place to ensure objectives are met. It allows the minister to change processes, procedures and mandates of universities and other higher education institutions. It also empowers the minister to withhold funding under specific circumstances. The bill will be open for public comment in the coming weeks and calls for submissions would be advertised at the weekend.
Full report on the BDLive site