Look after lecturers and the rest will follow
Ian Scott has presented a wellcrafted argument to support his comment “Core issues besides finance and access hinder students’ success” (October 20). However, he has completely ignored the role of the academic staff (who for years have been exhorted to “do more with less”) in the currently disturbed higher education arena.
With managerial changes directed at advancing students without balancing this with supporting resources, academic staff members have performed their profession in an environment of heavy workloads, escalating numbers of meetings and unprecedented administrative duties.
All of these hinder the sustained, productive face-to-face interaction needed to teach and supervise increasingly multifarious under- and postgraduates, whose heterogeneity, levels of preparedness and motivations require nuanced approaches and epistemic sensitivities.
Without the academic staff there would be no academic wheel to turn, no university to attend, no one to enhance the scientific reputation and research standing of our country, and no role models for the students.
If academic staff are not given the voice and space to realise each student’s full potential, no amount of taxpayers’ money or managers, nor the recently appointed higher education minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, will make one jot of difference to student access and success.