Higher education must be transformed

Higher Education and Training are offered a right to reply on the topic of transformation at universities.

The Mail & Guardian's shrill, irate pieces on the announcement of the transformation in higher education oversight committee and its membership require a response ("Storm over varsity 'commissariat'" and editorial, January 25-31).

The committee has been in the offing since the 2008 report by the ministerial committee on progress towards transformation and social cohesion and the elimination of discrimination in public higher education institutions, also known as the Soudien report. The ministerial committee was established "to investigate discrimination in public higher education institutions, with a particular focus on racism, and to make appropriate recommendations to combat discrimination and to promote social cohesion". This focus was a result of the racist incident at the Reitz hostel of the University of the Free State.

The Soudien report concluded that "discrimination, in particular … racism and sexism, is pervasive in our institutions" and recommended that the minister consider "establishing a permanent oversight committee to monitor the transformation of higher education". Hence the oversight committee, launched by the minister on January 23, which got negative reports in your newspaper.

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