Higher Education in the Southern African Region: Current trends, challenges and recommendations

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Although there is an increasing demand for higher education in the Southern Africa region, levels of higher education provision and enrolment rates in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are amongst the lowest in the world. While the SADC region’s tertiary enrolment was on par with other parts of the world in the 1970s, by 2010 enrolment in those regions had risen by more than 20 per cent and Southern Africa was falling behind. If SADC countries continue along their current higher education trajectory without making significant changes, the region is projected to achieve a 16,3 per cent higher education enrolment rate by 2050. This progress is insufficient when compared to the current global gross tertiary enrolment ratio of 30 per cent, and will erode the future of higher education institutions in the region. This paper explores strategies for expanding and transforming higher education in the SADC region. It presents specific recommendations to the Ministers of Education in the SADC region, based on findings from research and consultations held with higher education leaders and policy-makers throughout the region.

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