The higher education sector needs to continuously review its base towards renewal and innovation. To this, CHEC offers:
Dual Higher Education Project (DHEP)

The DHEP – as a directive of CHEC – has been launched to explore the applicability of a dual higher education (DHE) model in South African higher education by initiating innovative and collaborative partnerships between universities and industry. This pioneering project aims to conduct pilot work on and ultimately develop DHE as a specific curricular model for the delivery of academic programmes by all universities – including traditional, comprehensive and universities of technology.

Funded by the National Department of Higher Education’s (DHET) University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG), the outcomes of the project are three-fold:

  1. Contribute to the University Capacity Development Programme’s (UCDP) goal of transforming university curricula in South Africa to be more responsive to the contextual challenges graduates face when it comes to employment opportunities and workplace success.
  2. Provide a more coherent approach to workplace-based learning (WPBL) and contribute to the WP-PSET’s key policy goal of improving relationships between education and training and the world of work.
  3. Support the goals and outcomes of the National Skills Development Plan 2030 with an emphasis on empowering education and training institutions to develop appropriate interventions (in collaboration with industry) to address the demands of the future labour market and skills development.

The DHEP consists of six main features, namely: research; development of DHE models; policy restructuring; capacity development; pilot implementation; and cross-cutting evaluation. For more information on the DHEP and its activities, please visit the project’s online Info Hub.

CHEC World of Work and the Future of Work project
How does the changing world of work impact HE, business, government and society?

The pace of change is accelerating. Yet, while we acknowledge that the future will be different form the past and even the present, we often based our strategies and plans on outdated assumptions. The last two years have been shrouded in angst and change.  With the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, we seem to have forgotten that, for a while, we were set on a changing work environment based on the evolution of technology. We now embrace certain technologies for their ability to allow us to work in secure, albeit distanced circumstances. This has required of us as the current workforce to make changes to our lifestyle and it impacted significantly on our work life balance. However, the significant advances in AI, machine learning, and robotics, the resultant over supply of data and information, will require different business and governance models.

Although there are numerous predictions, it is not possible to predict what the world will look like five years into the future. Let alone ten years or more. This is a relevant question, as HE has the responsibility to prepare its current and future students towards employability, or, at least, employment readiness. The future of work, is mostly veiled behind a shroud of uncertainty, a flurry of dynamic change and a cloud of technology leaps.  This leads to questions such as “How do we prepare ourselves for such changes?”

“How do we prepare the future generations for even more changes?”  Indeed, is it possible for HE, business, government, or civil society to prepare sufficiently for huge changes that will require of us to act and behave differently and operate in vastly unknown environments. Clearly work, and the future world of work, are changing dramatically. There are two main factors that drive this. These are the continued evolution of technology through 4IR and the negative effects of the global health pandemic (COVID-19). Whereas the global pandemic enforced a culture of social distance and working from home, it also spurred high levels of technology adoption, even in instances where the power of 4IR had not been acknowledged. Governments, HEIs, industries and business organisations alike had to renavigate their current operations, find means of planning a recovery to ensure business continuity and reimagine a new normal. Two themes emerged from this. (1) Information capabilities becomes a strategic priority and (2) work changes with new advantages and new opportunities, but requiring a reskilling and reengineering of academic programmes and business processes alike.

The CHEC AGM in June 2021 recommended that there should be further engagement on various matters that were raised in the Chairperson and CEO reports. These included the need for innovation in higher education programmes and their relationship to the world of work. Acting on the discussion at the AGM, CHEC has initiated a project on the future world of work and its impact on the Western Cape Region.

This has led CHEC to create a World of Work Working Group (WWWG) consisting of the public Universities in the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and the business sector as represented by Accelerate Cape Town, to work towards a new understanding of what trends are and how business, civil society, government and universities alike, can align towards these new challenges. From the perspective of HE, graduate attributes should reflect the demands of the work market whilst from the points of view of business and civil society, these demands need to be raised.

The aim of the working group is to provide a framework of understanding of the components of the future world of work and the future of work, by collaborating and sharing best practice and innovations for the economic development of the Western Cape.

CHEC hosted the first Future World of Work workshop project, on 22 November 2021, where presentations were made by the WCG, CCT, ACT and CHEC on their current projects relating to the world of work. It is clear from the workshop from the presentations at the workshop that the various regional role-players have all been working towards a changed work environment within a hybrid work setting. Some of the key points that were raised at the workshop are:

  • Qualities of the future workforce (Graduate Attributes) (How are grad attributes developed – in the formal and informal curriculum?)
  • Development of transversal skills such as Digital Literacy and Citizenship.
  • Innovation Frameworks – how do we create a conducive regional environment for regional innovation? Collaboration with corporate innovation academies.
  • Leadership Development – In house or room for collaboration. What forms of collaboration?
  • Curricular models for skills development – DHEP, other models.
  • Future skills needs foresight. What are the regional growth sectors? How will universities meet the demand?
  • Forms of education and training programmes: Formal, Continuing Education; Micro-credentialing.
  • Modalities of collaboration between employers and universities: Advisory Bodies. Other?
The WWWG will hold a follow-up workshop on 1 April 2022, where the university representatives will be provided with an opportunity to do presentations on institutional projects relating to the world of work. The purpose the second workshop is to allow representatives of the four public universities to do presentations that provide a perspective on how their universities, or units within their universities, are conducting research, foresight and planning around the future world of work. Similar to the format followed at the November 2021, workshop each university is requested to develop a 20 to 30 minute presentation relating to:

  • Overview of current institutional projects on the future world of work.
  • Purpose of projects around the world of work.
  • Focus: Regional / global. Time Horizon (short, medium, longer term).
  • Description of the projects: Their scope, what they are focusing on (the lenses that are being used), who is involved.
Mellon Project
Seminar series and associated activities on the theme of Decolonising the University

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“As the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the US, the Mellon Foundation seeks to build just communities where ideas and imagination can thrive.”

In June 2020, the Andrew W Mellon Foundation approved a no-cost extension for the CHEC collaborative project on Decolonising the University in June 2020. During the course of the following year, the Advisory Board, chaired by Dr Sharman Wickham of CHEC, was joined by additional institutional representatives to coordinate the project activities.

Members of the Advisory Committee and additional institutional representatives

  • Siya Sabata (CPUT)
  • Judy Peter (CPUT)
  • Precious Simba (SU)
  • Aslam Fataar (SU)
  • Simphiwe Sesanti (UWC)
  • Kasturi Behari-Leak (UCT)
  • Benita Moolman (UCT)

A key role for higher education institutions everywhere is the generation of new knowledge. In the South African context, emphasis has been given to “the advancement of all forms of knowledge and scholarship . . . to address the diverse problems and demands of the local, national, southern African and African contexts, and uphold rigorous standards of academic quality” (Education White Paper 3 – A Programme for the Transformation of the Higher Education System (DoE: July 1997).

The concept of “decolonisation” is aligned with many others highlighted in national and institutional policy documents – “equity”, “redress”, “diversity”, “social justice” – and commitments to the establishment of “a democratic ethos and a culture of human rights” as well as “a humane, non-racist and non-sexist social order”.

The project recognises that there is no one approach to decolonialisation: rather, it requires the attention of many roleplayers who have different ways of approaching and undertaking their work.

This project aims to deepen our knowledge and understandings of the recent, current and future work on decolonisation and related concepts in the four universities in the Western Cape – and to share the successes and the lessons learned to date with academic and professional staff in universities across South Africa and beyond.

The project involves the following activities:

  • Data collection in the four CHEC universities – from policy to practice
  • The development of institutional profiles, including databases of projects
  • The establishment of communities of practice within and across our universities
  • Self-evaluation of initiatives – lessons learned to date
  • Four seminars (one at each university)
  • Papers and publications – national and international
  • Development of a research-based resource

This is a three-year, three-phase project, as below:

  • Phase 1: Preparation and self-evaluation from July 2020 – June 2021
  • Phase 2: Seminar series (one per university) from July 2021 – June 2022
  • Phase 3: Finalisation of the outputs based on Phases 1 and 2 from July 2022 – December 2022

The project is currently transitioning to Phase 2 with the focus on:

  • Analysis of information collected on the approaches to and projects on decoloniality at the four universities
  • Preparing for the first seminar series to be held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

For more information, contact:

Dr Sharman Wickham

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