With the goal of exploring the implications of the Draft Policy Framework for the Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa for International Provider and Programme Mobility (IPPM), a policy dialogue was jointly hosted by British Council, International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The dialogue took place on 14 November 2018 at the Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg. The University of Venda was represented at the dialogue by the Acting Director, International Relations, Dr Segun Obadire. 

Mr Colm McGivern, Country Director for the British Council in South Africa 

Mr Colm McGivern, Country Director for the British Council in South Africa opened the event with reference to the productive partnership between South Africa and the UK in higher education (particularly in terms of research collaboration). He welcomed all participants from Universities, DHET, CHE, USAf and the British Council. 

Programme facilitator, Orla Quinlan, the current President IEASA welcomed the three panellists to discuss the Draft Policy Framework for the Internationalisation of Higher Education from the perspective of DHET, who initiated the policy, the CHE who will have to advise the Minister before the final sign off of the policy and Dr Nico Jooste who was responding as a Senior Director in International Education. 

Mr Mahlubi Chief Mabizela (DHET) and other participants during the dialogue 

Mr Mahlubi Chief Mabizela (DHET) covered the purpose of the policy framework which is to provide ‘high-level principles and guidelines; set broad parameters; and provide a national framework for internationalisation of higher education within which HE institutions must develop and align their institutional internationalisation policies and strategies.” His presentation clarified the policy’s standpoint on elements such as Cross-border and Collaborative Provision of Higher Education, joint degrees and cross border collaborative qualifications. He emphasized the fact that the internationalisation policy will be a guide through which HEI’s can develop their own policies on internationalisation. 

Dr Phumzile Dlamini (CHE) spoke about CHE’s comments on the draft framework for internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa. She emphasised that the policy framework would still have to go to the Council for approval. Dr Dlamini made it clear that CHE intends to work with their partner entities in other countries to ensure credibility of qualifications offered through joint degrees and other collaborative efforts. 

Dr Nico Jooste (NMU) opened with an acknowledgement of the growing trend towards isolationism in global politics and that this draft policy framework on internationalisation must be viewed in context, both at the global level and in the context of Higher Education. He then provided an informed analysis of the Draft policy document. He emphasised that the policy should not be looked at in isolation, but rather in the context of the entire range of Higher Education policies. Additionally it will be institutionally driven and not nationally driven and it calls for comprehensive internationalisation, meaning 

that every single aspect of an institution should be thinking of how they can accommodate internationalisation in their strategies including finance offices or residences. At university level, there is a lot of ground work that will need to be done to turn the policy vision into reality. Among the factors to be considered in implementing the policy in each respective HEI, how implementation will be funded is critical and each HEI will have to develop a strategy and action plan to that effect. 

Professor Jane Knight from The University of Toronto and a Distinguished Visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg 

Professor Jane Knight from The University of Toronto and a Distinguished Visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg was the key note speaker for the day. A range of terms in use in cross border provision made the participants realise that there is an enormous amount of activity in this arena globally but no common terms or shared understanding of the provision. She also mentioned that while international mobility is recorded in OECD figures, no such data is available on the program and provider side of international Higher Education. This prompted a project to develop a new International Program and Provider Mobility (IPPM) classification framework. 

Dr Knight presented the main international academic mobility terms, as well as the two new terms that have been added: International Program and Provider Mobility (IPPM) and International Student and Scholar Mobility (ISSM) 

In the second part of her presentation, Dr Knight then introduced the IPPM mapping study of which South Africa is a part. She emphasised the need for data collection pertaining to the African Continent and that there was much research opportunity in this area. 

Dr Whitfield Green, DHET and Dr Segun Obadire during the dialogue 

Front row, From left: Dr Whitfield Green, DHET; Professor Stephanie Burton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Internationalisation, UP; Dr Phumzile Dlamini, CHE; Ms Samie Chasi, Bristish Council; Prof Jane Knight, University of Toronto; 

Back Row : Mr Mahlubi Chief Mabizela DHET; Ms Orla Quinlan, Director International Relations, Rhodes University; Dr Nico Jooste, Director International Affairs, NMU 

Professor Stephanie Burton focussed her presentation on the critical issue of doctoral training, which is a key priority in South Africa. A major constraint for doctoral training nationally is however the availability of supervisory capacity and expertise and the presentation and discussions that followed brought to light the role of international partnerships in this regard. There were some sobering statistics in relation to throughput and completion rates of PhDs in South Africa. For example, one in eight of registered PhD candidates actually complete. It takes on average four years to complete a PhD. While the National Development Plan states a desired target of 5,000 PhD graduates a year, less than half than number actually complete. 

Participants during the dialogue 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications and Marketing 

University of Venda 
Tel: 015 962 8525 
Date: 03 December 2018 

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