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Transcending the Past and Reimagining the Future of South African Universities

January 25, 2016 @ 6:00 PM - 7:45 PM

| Free

In South Africa, student protests over the escalating cost of university fees saw the creation of a movement, #FeesMustFall that swept rapidly across campuses throughout the country. This followed a similar movement in Cape Town, #RhodesMustFall around the statue of Cecil John Rhodes and the broader transformation project. Collectively, they become the largest student social movement seen since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy in 1994. The historic impact on the landscape of higher education will have far reaching consequences for society in general for decades to come. Indeed, the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall movements were agitators for social change, and their genesis was on university campuses. This is indicative of the essential role of universities in a rapidly changing world that is often characterised by social upheaval.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Adam Habib will discuss how, for universities to lead social change, they have to exist within a higher education system that is responsive to the diverse and multiple needs of the economy and society. Any serious analysis of the higher education system over the last two decades must confront the challenge of trade-offs among equally important, competing imperatives, and the contesting philosophies that have come to define the post-apartheid education project at South Africa’s universities. Habib will also reflect on the challenge of the transformation of South Africa’s universities, and how this relates to social change in the country as a whole.

Speaker Professor Adam Habib

Prof Habib is an academic, an activist, an administrator, and a renowned political media commentator and columnist. He is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, a position that he assumed with effect from the 1st of June 2013. A Professor of Political Science, Habib has more than 30 years of academic, research, institutional and administration expertise. His experience spans five universities and multiple local and international institutions, boards and task teams. His professional involvement in institutions has always been defined by three distinct engagements: the contest of ideas; their translation into actionable initiatives; and the building of institutions.

Chair Dame Nicola Brewer

This lecture will be followed by a reception from 730pm – 9pm  which all are welcome to attend 

This lecture is part of the African Voices Programme – More details 

This is a joint event between UCL Public Policy and UCl Grand Challenges.

Anatomy G29 J Z Young LT – MEDICAL SCIENCES AND ANATOMY. GOWER STREET. London United Kingdom WC1E 6BT – View Map


University College of London
Anatomy G29 Glower Tower London United Kingdom WC1E 6BT United Kingdom