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Joint Annual Research Programme

CHEC's joint research programme with the City of Cape Town kicked off in 2015. As with the CHEC - WCG partnership, both single institutional and multi-institutional projects are funded. Click here to view a summary of the CCT - CHEC joint research projects for 2017 and 2018 that lists the researchers and their projects funded for 2017.

A third call for research proposals was circulated in October 2017.

CHEC - WCG Research Reports

Download the newsletter

CHEC and the WCG Joint workshops

The last of the workshops "Good Governance and Integrated Service Delivery" - Setting the Research Agenda for Provincial Strategic Goal 5" was held on 30 May 2017. Download the report

Completion of the Graduate Destination Survey

Following the completion of the Graduate Destination Survey (GDS), the Reference Group for this work commissioned Professor Magda Fourie-Malherbe (SU) and her doctoral student, Elza Lourens, to conduct a qualitative follow-up study on the successful transition from university to the world of work by graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. Find the report from this study here.

Appointment of NEW CHEC CEO

The Board of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Martin Oosthuizen as the new CEO of CHEC, with effect from 1 August 2017. He succeeds Nasima Badsha who retires from CHEC at the end of July. The Board looks forward to working with Professor Oosthuizen, who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of higher education.  The Board is confident that with Martin’s leadership, CHEC will build on its strengths while responding to new challenges and opportunities.

Professor Oosthuizen holds degrees in Law and Theology, and obtained his doctorate in Theology from the University of South Africa in 1989. He was appointed as Deputy Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at North West University at the start of June 2011. Before that he served as Senior Director of the Centre for Planning and Institutional Development at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth from 2005. At NWU his areas of responsibility include higher education access, student academic support, academic planning, curriculum development, teaching and learning approaches, educational technology, academic staff development, continuing education and the careers service.

Martin has been extensively involved in national and institutional projects relating to standards setting, quality assurance and qualifications design in the South African higher education sector. He was invited by the HEQC to coordinate the task team that developed the institutional audit framework for the first cycle of institutional audits. At the NMMU, he was responsible for the management of the SANTED project which dealt with the development of a new academic structure and qualifications profile for NMMU as a comprehensive university. Currently he serves on the Higher Education Quality Committee, and chairs its Accreditation Committee. He is an international reviewer for the Oman Academic Accreditation Council, and has contributed as an international reviewer to various institutional reviews for the Quality Assurance Agency in Scotland.

Martin has published various articles and presented papers at local and international conferences, mainly in the area of Old Testament theology, and more recently in the field of quality assurance and academic planning in higher education. He has held a number of research awards, including a fellowship at the Centre for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA in 1994, and a fellowship from the Association of Commonwealth Universities for study in higher education quality management at the University of Oxford in the UK from January to March 2001.

Dr Chris Nhlapo
Chair of the CHEC Board


CHEC and the WCG's joint workshops

During 2016, CHEC and the WCG have held two joint workshops, Planning for Resilient Growth: Setting the Research Agenda for Provincial Strategic Goals 1 and 4 and Building Resilient Communities - Laying the Foundations for Youth Development and Wellness. These workshops provided opportunities for academics and government officials to discuss areas of common interest highlighted in the Provincial Strategic Goals 1, 2, 3 and 4. The reports provide summaries of the various presentations as well as the smaller group discussions where possible research questions and projects were identified. It is suggested that academics who are interested in submitting proposals for the next research grant review these reports as the information will be useful in assisting them to align their project aims with provincial interests and needs.

WCG's Green Paper on Alcohol Harms Reduction

The WCG's Green Paper on Alcohol Harms Reduction can be found here as well as shorter version of this in the flyer here. CHEC encourages all interested academics to comment on this paper.

Transforming Tutorials

Click on this link to view a video based on the CHEC short course "Transforming Tutorials".

Creating the Leading Edge function to honour those completing all core modules, 19 May 2016

In 2002 when the Creating the Leading Edge programme was first discussed, the training managers from the then 5 universities in the Western Cape met and formed a project team. We asked ourselves: what competencies and what knowledge does every middle manager working in higher education need? Originally there were 10 core modules but we settled on 8 a few years later.

The Cape Higher Education Consortium is all about collaborating with others and the programme participants enjoy and gain from the exchange of information between staff who come from the four universities.

Every year the project team reviews the year's programme and plans ahead. We ask: Is there still a demand for this? Have we reached saturation point? No. In fact this year there were so many applications for the CLE modules that many are running second groups.

On 19 May 2016 a function was held to honour those who had completed all core modules in the last five years and to thank people involved in the running of the highly successful CLE - the CHEC Board, the HR Directors, the project team. Special mention was made of Joy Fish the Co-ordinator of the CLE, Arabel Norrish the administrator, Janet Hamilton the caterer, and Marlene Titus the Finance Manager of CHEC.

Alvina Matthee receives her certificate from Dr Chris Nhlapo, the Chair of the CHEC Board.

Ms Joy Fish provides some background to the programme, Creating the Leading Edge.

The event was attended by members of the CHEC Board, Dr Chris Nhlapo, Prof Vivienne Lawack and Ms Nasima Badsha, as well as Ms Amanda Glaeser, Executive Director of Human Resources (UWC) and Ms Joy Fish, the coordinator of the programme. Here they are with a number of the participants who received certificates.

Going Global, Cape Town International Convention Centre, 3 - 5 May 2016

Going Global is an annual conference offering an open forum for global leaders of tertiary education to discuss issues facing the international education community. Since its inception in 2004, Going Global has grown from a bi-annual event in the UK to an annual event alternating between the UK and a major international city. Each year it attracts more than 1,000 registered delegates from across the tertiary (further and higher) education sectors and a variety of other industries with perspectives on international education.

Africa Day Celebrations, 25 May 2016

CHEC collaborated with the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town in preparing for Africa Day celebrations at the Artscape Theatre. This year's theme was 'Dynamic Leaps' advertised by TEDxTableMountain as 'a night of perspective-changing, idea-generating, awe-inspiring talks by thought-leaders from our City and beyond'.

Each of the universities hosted a programme of events. Visit the universities' websites for further information.

Education Students' Regional Research Conference

25 June 2016 - Abstract writing workshop
13 July 2016 - Abstract submission deadline
13 August 2016 - Presentation skills workshop
2 - 3 September 2016 - Education Students' Regional Research Conference

For more information, go to

CHECs Meeting with the Provincial Top Management of the Western Cape Government, 17 March 2016

CHEC representatives met with the Western Cape Government's Provincial Top Management team to discuss CHEC's role with regards to the Joint Task Team. Particular attention was given to the joint research programme undertaken by staff in the four universities over the past five years. Three project leaders provided short presentations on their projects, the key questions these addressed and the outcomes. The project leaders and their respective projects were:

Professor Mark New - The Nexus between Food, Water, Energy and other Natural Resources
Professor Judith McKenzie - Collaborative Research Project between the Western Cape Education Department teams for Children with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability
Ms Trish Zweig - Service learning in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction: opportunities for postgraduate students, government and communities.

CHEC's Meeting with the Mayor of Cape Town, 20 April 2016

The Vice-Chancellors met with the Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, on 20 April 2016. The meeting included an introduction to the first projects awarded funding under the CHEC - CCT Joint Research Programme. Click here for a list of researchers and their projects.

CHECs Collaboration with TVET Colleges from 2015

Since the CHEC TVET College Conference held at Northlink College in March 2015 (view Conference Report here), the Steering Committee has given its attention to issues of articulation. A Programme and Qualification Mix (PQM) task team was established to map current offerings and to identify areas for collaboration.

When articulation challenges facing graduates of the new NC(V) Primary Health programme were brought to the attention of the Steering Committee, CHEC facilitated the identification of existing articulation opportunities for these graduates at UCT as well as future possibilities at CPUT.

In April 2016, the Steering Committee considered a presentation on the dual registration model currently in use for IT students at False Bay College. While this project has faced some challenges, it also highlights critical success factors, including the close communication required between staff at CPUT and the College around programme content and delivery.

Work currently being planned lies in the area of Early Childhood Development (ECD). The challenges being addressed relate to both articulation into study at university and into career pathways. At present, ECD College graduates have only three career pathways - an au pair, a teaching assistant or an ECD practitioner. There is no route to further study for those who wish to who wish to qualify as teachers.

Follow-up work to the CHEC Graduate Survey

In 2013, a large-scale graduate study was completed by the four universities in the Western Cape under the auspices of CHEC. The main aim of this study was to better understand the varied pathways into work for the graduates of the four universities. Full and abridged copies of the report, Pathways from University to Work: A Graduate Destination Survey of the 2010 Cohort of Graduates from the Western Cape Universities' can be downloaded here.

A smaller qualitative study, From Graduate to Employee - Factors that determine professional success of graduate from disadvantaged backgrounds, is being undertaken by Stellenbosch University staff under the auspices of CHEC.


Going Global 2016
3-5 May 2016, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town Going Global is an annual conference offering an open forum for global leaders of tertiary education to discuss issues facing the international education community. Since its inception in 2004, Going Global has grown from a bi-annual event in the UK to an annual event alternating between the UK and a major international city. Each year it attracts more than 1,000 registered delegates from across the tertiary (further and higher) education sectors and a variety of other industries with perspectives on international education.

Find out more.

Talloires Network's third international conference: Report
When delegates from engaged universities around the world came to Cape Town for the Talloires Network's third international conference on 2-4 December 2014, there were significant differences compared to the previous event in Madrid in 2011. Participation by the Global South was higher in terms of both people attending and programme content. For the first time, the conference was organised in a country of the Global South. The presence of a large contingent of young people enriched the debate with the aspirations and experiences of students from 20 countries. Conference programing reflected the global movement's sharper focus on preparing students for jobs and entrepreneurship as well as on how to link education to economic development and make it a force for active citizenship and social change. There was less grand rhetoric and a lot more action. This report, written by University World News, Talloires Network's media partner for the event, highlights some of the trends and innovative ideas in higher education civic engagement as seen by the protagonists, rather than providing a blow-by-blow account of who said what in which order. It contains comments and opinion gathered both at the conference and in interviews conducted in the run-up to the event.

Download the full report [PDF]

Conference of TVET Colleges and Universities in the Western Cape
18 March 2015, Plattekloof Campus, Northlink College

Leaders from the TVET colleges and universities met to share information and identify areas for possible future partnerships in three selected areas: learning support; industry partnerships and pathways to work; and institutional innovation.

Download the full report [PDF]


Equity and transformation at 3 South African universities: reviewing activities and distilling policy propositions
Two new documents have been released by CHEC. The first is a review report commissioned by Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY). This report presents the findings of a review of the efforts of selected US foundations, with an emphasis on CCNY, to support initiatives in equity and transformation at three South African universities - the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the Witwatersrand - between 2000/2011. Much of the report focuses on the approaches used in these three universities, the activities implemented and their outcomes over a six-year period. These are also considered in the light of national policy and the targets set for the growth of postgraduate student numbers.

The second document draws on the lessons learnt in the above review, distilling policy propositions for consideration by government departments, research foundations, the higher education institutions and local and international donors. Key questions addressed relate to important features of support programmes for postgraduate students and the ways in which research and institutional cultures may be enhanced.

Download the full report [PDF]

Download the policy brief [PDF]

Technology Commercialisation Course: from Lab to Market 2014
Join us to learn more about technology, innovayion and entrepreneurship.

The 4 Universities in the Western Cape: CPUT, SU, UCT & UWC have once again joined forces to offer the Lab2Market course in Technology Commercialisation for the 3rd year running.

Targeted at: science/engineering/technology-based graduate participants, post-docs, researchers, and those interested in the process of taking technologies from the lab to the market place.

To enhance your knowledge on: Intellectual Property, licensing of technologies, industry & market research, business plan development, valuation models and the process for new business development, inter alia.

Download the flyer for more information.


Naledi Pandor opens the UniverCity Dialogues at UWC
Naledi Pandor MP, Minister of Home Affairs, opens the UniverCity Dialogues on 'the role of universities as placemakers' at University of Western Cape on 5 July 2013. Click here to view a transcript of the minister's speech.

Publication of the CHEC graduate destination findings
The four universities in the Western Cape participated in a large-scale graduate tracer survey conducted under the auspices of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC). The main purpose of the survey is to better understand the varied pathways into work for the graduates of the four universities.

The analysis of the CHEC graduate tracer survey data has been completed. The findings have been published by CHEC in the report entitled 'Pathways from University to Work: A Graduate Destination Survey of the 2010 Cohort of Graduates from the Western Cape Universities'. Two separate reports have been published:

1. The full report which includes detailed analysis of the data in over 170 data tables as well as the survey instrument. Click here to download the full report.
2. An abridged report outlining key data and findings. Click here to download the abridged report.

It is anticipated that the findings of the survey will assist the universities to formulate strategies to improve the link between education and employment for the benefit of future generations of university students.


This Graduate Destination Survey has generated an immensely important new database for understanding how tertiary education relates to labour market prospects. This report provides a first stab at analysing this data and already brings to the fore some crucial insights. Further research on this database should inform both labour market and education policies, and it is of immediate use for university planning. CHEC's initiative in this regard should be greatly lauded and they should be encouraged to undertake such tracer studies on a regular basis.
- Professor Servaas van den Berg, Professor of the Economics of Education, Stellenbosch University

I think the methodology section is superb - The really important consequence of this work is that it can alert the institutions to thinking forward about complex issues.
- Professor Tim Dunne, Professor of the Statistics, University of Cape Town

5 560 responses from the total of 24 710 graduates can be seen as a great success of the study. The response rate was 23% which is similar to graduate surveys in Europe and Japan.
- Professor Harald Schomburg, International Centre for Higher Education Research, University of Kassel.


Graduate Survey Launched by Universities in the Western Cape
The four universities in the Western Cape - UCT, CPUT, UWC and Stellenbosch University - have completed a large-scale graduate tracer survey. The survey, which was conducted under the auspices of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) aimed to reach 24 000 graduates who acquired their degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate) and diplomas from the four universities in 2010.

The main purpose of the survey is to better understand the varied pathways into work for the graduates of the four universities. It is anticipated that the findings of the survey will assist the universities to formulate strategies to improve the link between education and employment for the benefit of future generations of university students.

It is anticipated that the final survey report will be finalised in the first quarter of 2013.

Student competition: Design Project for a Community Park
A competition for students and young professionals was held over two days prior to the 49th Annual World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). The focus of the competition was to design an urban community park based on a single site in District Six. It is intended that elements of the designs submitted should be used by City Parks in this and other locations.

Tracer Study on CHEC Graduates
A project is currently underway to track our graduates' destinations and the transition processes from the time they graduate through to their employment. The study had its origins in the outcomes of events in 2011 hosted by CHEC and led by the Graduates Attributes Working Group. These events, which included international researchers in the areas of graduate attributes and tracer studies, culminated in the development of the TOR for a study and the acceptance of a proposal coordinated by Dr Andre Kraak.

Launch of the Guidelines for Bursary Provision
The launch of the CHEC / WCG booklet on bursary guidelines took place in June 2012. This was the culmination of the sharing of information on best practices in the universities, government, and business. For an electronic copy of this document, please click here.

CHEC's Annual General Meeting was held on 21 June 2012. One of the key items covered in this meeting was the revision of the CHEC Articles of Association in terms of the requirements of the Companies Act, as amended.

January / February 2011

Provincial Cabinet met Higher Education in the Western Cape

On 1 February 2011, the Premier together with her Cabinet met the Vice Chancellors / Rector and members of the executive from the CHEC universities to discuss Provincial priorities, possible synergies and new areas for partnerships.

The Joint Task Team highlighted progress made to date in a number of areas related to research, enhancing skills development, innovation, and the Soccer World Cup. Items for a Programme of Action to guide future collaboration were also discussed. (Refer to the Presentation from the Joint Task Team for more detail.)

Posters illustrating recent and current work undertaken at the universities in the areas of Health and Social Development, Environment and Sustainability and Innovation and technology were on display.

Click here to download the presentation from the Joint Task Team.



Graduate Attributes Symposium, 14 and 15 March 2011
The programme for this event to be held at the Sports Science Institute includes three international speakers: Professor Geoff Scott, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Quality) at the University of Western Sydney, A/Professor Simon Barrie, the Director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Sydney, and Dr Caryn Musil, the Senior Vice President at the Association of American Colleges and Universities who oversees the Office of Diversity, Equity and Global Initiatives. (Refer to the short bios of these speakers for further details.)

In addition to these international perspectives, Dr Lis Lange, the ex-Executive Director of the HEQC, CHE, will offer a national perspective and staff from the four universities will give overviews of developments within their institutions. Student representatives and representatives from government, business and civil society will also participate in presentations and discussions.

The last session will focus on a possible research project to assess the quality of graduates in the region.

Collaborative efforts to address Substance Abuse in the Western Cape
Following a series of discussions between the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and CHEC, the Premier awarded a grant to the universities to offer specialised courses in the field of substance abuse treatment and intervention.

Participation in the Erasmus Mundus Programme
The four CHEC institutions and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) were selected to participate in the Erasmus Mundus Programme - Action 2. This programme provides study opportunities for students and staff from the partner universities (Target group 1), and for a smaller category (Target Group 11). The latter is open to members of the broader South African community.

Calls for applications for M and PhD programmes opened on 1 October 2010. Further details about the submission and selection processes can be found at

Towards regional collaboration for IT at the CHEC universities
At a meeting held at CPUT's Hotel School on 12 October 2010, the IT Directors from the CHEC universities shared high-level strategy and plans around the use of IT in relation to research, teaching and learning, and community engagement and identified key issues for collaboration.

A Framework for Bursary Support in the Region
Following two meetings held in 2010, CHEC commissioned the Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) to draft a set of guidelines for bursary provision in the province. These have been prepared with students from poor economic and educational backgrounds in mind and aim to enhance students' chances of success while also developing responsibility, accountability and community consciousness graduates.

The draft document has been circulated for comment to a range of stakeholders. It is anticipated that the final document will be presented to a wider audience later this year.

The development of a conceptual model for driving innovation in the Western Cape
CHEC, under the leadership of the University of the Western Cape, commissioned a study on how best universities can contribute to promoting innovation in the region. At a workshop held at UWC on 23 November 2010, the findings were presented and discussed. The final report will available shortly.

Report to the MEC Public Works on Urban Regeneration
CHEC presented the MEC Public Works with a report that outlines a framework for urban regeneration. For further information, see the Report on the Cape Town Central City Provincial Government Regeneration Initiative, 2010, CHEC.

CHEC supports Cape Town's bid to become the World Design Capital 2014
CHEC has sent a letter supporting Cape Town's bid to become the World Design Capital in 2014. In addition, the four universities have collected information about qualifications / programmes as well as Centres and Institutes that contribute to making Cape Town a "design city", i.e. a city that uses design to develop solutions that make an impact in addressing socio-economic challenges.

For more information, go to


Soccer World Cup
The CHEC 2010 Working Group's Report on CHEC coordinated activities in relation to the 2010 FIFA World Cup describes the involvement of the CHEC member universities in this event. See the full report for the details on base camps, accommodation, transportation and park and ride facilities, joint marketing and research.

Disaster Risk Science and Management
The photographs below were taken at a recent workshop at the University of the Western Cape where the guests gathered to hear CHEC students' presentations on their work in Disaster Risk Science and where the new publication, RADAR, was launched.


The Cape Higher Education Consortium Joins the Call for the Withdrawal of the Protection of Information Bill
The Board of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC), at its meeting on 28 October 2010, added its voice to the growing call from a wide range of organisations for the withdrawal of the Protection of Information Bill.

The CHEC Board acknowledged the statement of the Stellenbosch University Senate (2 September 2010) which highlighted the fundamental flaws in the proposed legislation which, if promulgated in its current form, is likely to be detrimental to teaching and research in higher education through the restriction of access to and the free flow of information.

An earlier statement by Dr Max Price on behalf of the University of Cape Town (22 August 2010) had called for the redrafting of the Bill, the function of which 'should be to ensure a balance between the country's security interests and the full protection of the rights of the public to knowledge and access to information, as enshrined in the Constitution'.

CHEC supports the appeals made to the Government to redraft the Bill, taking into account the objections that have been raised and hopes that this process will include full public consultations.

CHEC and City of Cape Town seminar series
The first of these seminars was held at the Sports Science Institute on 2 December 2011. Professor Mark Swilling from the University of Stellenbosch drew on the newly released book he edited "Sustaining Cape Town - Imagining a Livable City" to frame inputs from City officials and the lively discussion that followed.

The next seminar will be advertised soon.

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