Established during an inaugural meeting in Bloemfontein on 14 November 2018, the Higher Education Regional Development Initiative of Central South Africa (HERDIC – SA) will collaborate in a manner that delivers operational and academic benefits to each institution, increase benefits to communities in the region, and responds to the need for high-level learning opportunities in South Africa. The collaboration with critical stakeholders in support of development in the region, as expressed in the partnership of teaching, learning, research, and engaged scholarship aspirations and the pursuit of mutually beneficial synergies and benefits of scale in critical support structures, was highlighted.
During the inaugural meeting, it was unanimously agreed that working together for enhanced access to higher education, staff development, and student welfare initiatives, as well as regional collaborations with the wider public sector and business, could have a transformative effect on the capacity and sustainability of the communities in the central inland region. The five institutions that form part of the initiative are: Motheo TVET College (Bloemfontein); Northern Cape Urban TVET College (Kimberley); Sol Plaatje University (SPU) (Kimberley); University of the Free State (UFS) (Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses); and the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) (Bloemfontein and Welkom).
During the meeting, the importance of collaboration between higher-education institutions and colleges of technical and vocational education training in creating synergies and leveraging joint capabilities to enhance development, was highlighted. The focus areas that HERDIC – SA will work on, include operational efficiencies (including shared services), articulation between the institutions (including teaching and learning), research and innovation, community engagement (including marketing and communication), and staff development.
The operational model will consist of task teams for each of the focus areas, consisting of representatives from each member institution. The task teams will report to a steering committee. It is envisaged that HERDIC – SA will be operational by March 2019.
Source University of the Free State