Must say I am very worried about the "Concept Document', How one casts the debate at the Summit will shape what we talk about and what we get out of it Starting with Soudien already privileges race, and Kadar Asmal said last night at the Jansen/Price 'discussion' that the methodology of this report is so poor that it should never have been published and many academics agree, apart from deeply flawed methodology, the proposals actually don't take us forward in tackling this problem in a serious way.
The structure of the Summit is vintage 1990 when we knew very little about higher education policy and a lot about "experiences" . I would have hoped that 2 decades later and a lot of policy knowledge and research later we would be able to have a research 'evidence' based summit about HE, not another 'experience jamboree'.
The Conceptual Structure of the Summit is according to 'experience'
(student, academics, leadership - and then suddenly 'differentiation', is this now the 'differentiation experience' - a conceptual inconsistency I think!
The current policy debate can be cut in different ways, but the one that some of us are talking about are about the two main roles for HE; One:Redress the apartheid inequalities - and the minister has added class to the previous BEE race dominated debate (changing the colour of the elite). Two:HE and development, and this in some sense takes us right back to Harold Wolpe (remind Blade he was an avid participant in this debate in our NEPI group) - although I must say we have movedconsiderably beyond those discussions.Cast like this the issues of participation rate, success rate, post graduate and knowledge production and innovation, and of course differentiation, becomes the key issues that affect which approach or role for HE you privilege. Making race and development 'cross cutting' themes of "student , academic, leadership experience" is conceptual and policy mumbo jumbo - and it opens the floor for SASCO and some VC's of the most poorly performing universities, not to mention Julies and his troops. The above of course presume that you are serious about the Summit, and it is not just a political PR event for the new department, but even for the latter the current "structure" could be quite a PR disaster.