n South African Journal of Higher Education - Academic programme co-operation in South African higher education : imperatives, challenges and threads




Since 1994 policy documents and initiatives such as the NCHE document (NCHE Report 1996), the White Paper (RSA DoE 1997), the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, the National and Institutional Planning Framework 1998, proposed not only regional co-operation between various higher and further education institutions but also the need for academic programme co-operation between institutions whether on a regional or interregional basis. The rationale behind this initiative is to encourage the development of regional partnerships as means for, amongst others, to reduce the overlap and duplication of existing programme provision in certain regions and to enhance the articulation of programmes and mobility of learners between institutions as described by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) (RSA 1998). But even more critically, regional programme collaboration could be one way of transcending the current divides in the higher and further education system, and could become a "harbin ger of new institutional and organisational forms" (RSA DoE 1997:18). The purpose of this article is to furnish insight into the rationale, challenges and quandaries of academic programme co-operation and to describe, as a case study, the progress made by an initiative to develop and implement an interinstitutional Masters' programme in higher and further education studies.


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