A study by the University of KwaZulu-Natal has commended Unisa for its performance on research productivity and overall equity. The aim of the study which was presented to Parliament late last month was to examine demographic profiles particularly on race and gender as well as research output at public higher education institutions.
Unisa fared well compared to other Universities like Stellenbosch University which is reported to have the least transformed student body of the 23 Universities that were inspected. Unisa also got special mention in the study for its effort to "Africanise" fifty percent of its curriculum.
A black academic working at Unisa is quoted in the report as having said that not speaking with the "correct" accent makes black staff insecure and impacted on their confidence. The academic added that white colleagues at Unisa showed little sympathy and support and behaved "like a trade union against transformation" as they work hard to keep black academics out of fields such as Accounting and Law.
The report also notes that Unisa has adopted its Charter on Reconciliation and Transformation which is an important step in encouraging social cohesion and transformation. Other institutions like University of Johannesburg, University of Free State and Durban University of Technology have adopted or are in the process of developing their own Transformation Charters.
The UKZN researchers who compiled the report also told Parliament’s university oversight committee that at the current pace it will take around 40 years to transform the staff profile of South Africa’s higher education institutions to reflect the demographics of the country.