The right questions and planning can help universities to mitigate risk.
Risk has to do with uncertainty; people struggle to conceptualise and manage that which they're unsure about. This is true in the higher education sector, too.
Thabo Mbeki during his inauguration as Chancellor at UNISA.
There's no doubt South African universities need to undergo a real shift. But are the country's current intellectual and academic forces up to the task?
Students want things to change at South Africa’s universities.
The push for decolonisation could ironically end up trapping universities in a colonised curriculum.
2017 promises to be another tough year as South African universities head into the uncertain terrain of further addressing and healing the divisions that have been exposed.
More leadership is needed to tackle universities’ crises.
South Africa must address the root factors contributing to nationwide protests in the higher education sector or face dire consequences
University students use a mattress as a shield against rubber bullets.
Social justice is not just a phrase for protesting students. Instead it is something that defines them.
A student passes South African riot police during free education protests at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand.
Some students argue wrongly that the ANC has betrayed the promise of free higher education made in the Freedom Charter. The governing party's populism is also to blame for the confusion.
South Africa’s student protests are raising difficult issues, some of which are not being debated openly.
Demands being made by protesting students in South Africa purport to support the poor. But the most marginalised young people in the country will not benefit from free higher education.
When governments and students collide, university systems wobble.
The politicisation of academia definitely contributes to a decline in academic standards. This is a situation South Africa must work hard to avoid. It can learn from others on the continent.
There has been a great deal of research, planning and talking to come up with solutions to South Africa's higher education funding crisis. Some of these plans must now be put into action.
The student movement in South Africa prides itself on being “leaderless”.
Student protesters have demonstrated good leadership in some spheres but come up short in other areas. This suggests that universities ought to focus more on how they teach leadership.
Peacekeepers can offer a channel of communication between police and protesters.
Peacekeeping is not easy. But for South Africa's universities to begin working towards solutions, it is crucial that their communities give peace a chance.
Scenes like these may drive young people away from academic careers.
Many young academics and those who might be considering an academic career will be horrified by what's unfolding at South Africa's institution. Will bright minds be lost?
Critical dialogue could help South African universities get back on their feet.
When students are genuinely listened to and understood, and their proposed solutions to problems are taken seriously, real change can happen in university faculties.
When several South African universities merged, it was hoped this would improve access and equality. It had the opposite effect.
Polls and elections are considered vital democratic tools – but there’s more to true democracy.
There are several different ways to approach democracy. Polls, elections and referenda all feature, but they're not the only way to deepen democracy.
South Africa’s economy will be hit hard if universities can’t finish the year.
Economic models suggest that South Africa's GDP would fall, inequality would deepen and unemployment would rise if university graduates don't enter the labour market in 2017.
South Africa’s government-run student loan scheme needs an overhaul.
A "buy now, pay later" model is well suited to financing higher education. Commercial bank loans are not viable. Government-backed loans with income-contingent repayment are the fair solution.
Many South Africans fear and mistrust the police.
Clashes between student protesters and armed security (whether public or private) compel South Africans to consider the role of use of force in the context of protests.
The costs of student protests are far higher than imagined.
There is a very real risk that South Africa's major research projects will stumble and the whole research machine will be shut down by ongoing student protests.