South Africa’s Higher Education (HE) has undergone many changes over the past few decades. The HE sector has been continually influenced by the following local and global trends.
Trend 1: Growing recognition for online education. Rapid advances in technology has seen enrolment in online programmes increasing in SA and is transforming the way that students learn.
Trend 2: Impact of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) will undoubtedly change the world of work. Certain jobs will become obsolete, as intelligent machines will be able to complete tasks quicker and more accurately than humans will.
Trend 3: Intensifying demand for affordable, accessible and quality education. The #FeesMustFall protests, is a manifestation of the intensifying demand for affordable, accessible and quality higher education.
Trend 4: Flexible delivery modes. The Council for Higher Education (CHE) – for accreditation for programmes offered in blended modes by both public and private HEIs.
Trend 5: Growing number of cyberattacks on higher education institutions. Many HEIs in 16 countries have fallen victim to cyberattacks.
Trend 6: Reduction in funding for science researchers. South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) continues to cut funding for some of the top scientists in the country as it restructures one of its key funding programmes for rated science researchers.
Trend 7: Rise in demand from surrounding African countries. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing rapid growth, with the demand for education outstripping supply.
Trend 8: Introduction of edtech at Basic Education level. The government has expressed interest in edtech and funded the delivery of tablets and broadband access to schools.
Trend 9: Decolonisation of curriculum. There is growing consensus amongst social scientists and public administration practitioners about the importance of decolonising the education system in Africa and South Africa.
Trend 10: Growing interest and consolidation of the private higher education market. With the entrance of many new players in the private higher education space, the landscape in terms of size and shape is changing rapidly. However, private higher education in South Africa is highly regulated, with high barriers to entry.
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