IMG 20191203 WA0026 e1594303244235 300x226A WSU academic executive is set to actively participate in the strengthening and tightening of the quality of teaching and learning in the country’s higher education sector following his appointment to the Council on Higher Education’s (CHE) National Standards and Reviews Committee (NSRC).

WSU’s Learning and Teaching Development head, Prof Clever Ndebele, will for the next three years, from 2020 to 2022, serve on the NSRC with the aim of advancing the institutionalisation of quality assurance within higher education.

In the appointment letter, the NSRC chairperson Prof Themba Mosia writes, “You have been appointed to this position in your individual capacity to fulfil a governance role in a body that has delegated authority from the CHE. Your contribution will be critical to the institutionalisation of quality assurance within higher education.”

The appointment comes literally just weeks after Ndebele formed part of a high-level delegation led by the higher education and training minister which embarked on a mission to the USA’s cities of Washington and New York to  pursue concrete partnership possibilities between South African (SA) universities and US universities and organisations that can be enacted within the context of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s University Capacity Development Programme and the Historically Disadvantaged Institutions Development Programme.

The deliberations between the South Africans and their American counterparts were initially trashed out in a two-day conference held in New York which looked specifically at the concept of anchor institutions – the idea of tertiary institutions being anchors of the community through responsiveness, service and development.

“I became a part of this mission through the vision of our minister who’s interested in the concept of anchor institutions owing to the historical, socioeconomic and geographical dynamics of this country and its communities. As you probably know, our country is divided into 44 districts, and so there’s an appetite by government to ensure there’s structure of anchor institutions in each of those districts,” said Prof Ndebele. Ndebele said he envisages the anchor institution idea working for the uniquely rural WSU setting as it has a perfect storm that has brewed which the concept could be tailor-made for.

“After the conference we had meetings with several organisations such as the New York Academy of Science, the American Council of Education and representatives from a range of universities to discuss concrete academic staff development projects, including a staff doctoral project that could be taken forward through the Historically Disadvantaged Universities Development Programme (HDI-DP) and/or the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP)”, said Prof Ndebele.

He said it was critical from here onwards to have the interested parties from South Africa and the USA striking agreements with one another and putting in place MoUs to concretise agreements and the first step in this regard was a planned meeting of partners in Gauteng in early 2020.

Since his arrival at LTD in February earlier this year, Ndebele has championed a number of initiatives designed to improve teaching and learning.

“LTD as a directorate has a clear mandate – to offer academic support to staff and students in order to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at WSU; to improve retention rates and throughput and success rates through a variety of interventions, which include integration of teaching and learning with technology; academic staff development and direct engagement with student who’re at risk of failing,” he said. Prof Ndebele is also a member of the Minister of Higher Education and Training’s reference group on extended degree programmes.

By: Thando Cezula