The panel was expected to engage in a debate about how a better platform for engagement between university management and students can be built to enable collective and productive responsiveness to issues of inequality and quality within the broader context of higher education transformation.
Prof. Kgwadi addressed the issue of transformation student activism. Prof. Kgwadi said, “The revival of student activism is long overdue … we owe a debt of gratitude to our students for pushing transformation as forcefully as they have.” He also commented that “the year 2015 will go down in history as a watershed year in higher education.”
The panel was quickly interrupted in their debate as Sasco, the EFFSC, Daso, and the audience voiced their opinions regarding transformation. The student representatives of the panel encouraged the audience to share their opinions while the rest of the panel distanced themselves from the discussion as they were accused by the students of shutting their opinions down. A student from Stellenbosch University said that the panel doesn’t have power, but that they as students do. Another comment that surfaced was that the youth are hungry for transformation, but they are held back by their elders. The summit ended without a final conclusion as the debate got too heated and had to be suspended.
The dialogue was attended by approximately 436 delegates and consisted of lecturers, the public, students and student leaders from UJ, Wits, UP, the Tshwane University of Technology and the Vaal University of Technology. The Higher Education Summit was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC in Durban from 15-17 October.