Our coming-of age PwC Higher Education Conference, attended by close to 200 delegates, took place in a sunny Cape Town from 1 to 2 September.
Our theme "Reflecting in the mirror and peering into the crystal ball" was very apt as we looked back at higher education developments since 1994 and used the National Development Plan (NDP) to provide direction on the future landscape of education. Our line-up included Vice-chancellors, a Chief Executive Officer from an FET College, a university council chair, a representative from the Department of Higher Education and Training and a number of subject experts. Professor Jansen from University of the Free State passionately shared the hard lessons from the past two decades and very eloquently provided hopeful directions on the future of Higher Education in South Africa. This was followed by a very engaged panel discussion, facilitated by the CapeTalk radio presenter, Africa Melane. Professor Derrick Swartz from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Professor Nthabiseng Ogude from Tshwane University of Technology, Mr Louis van Niekerk from College of Cape Town and Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the chair of the UCT Council, shared their unique perspectives on the relevance of the NDP to Higher Education. Further presentations, tailored for higher education, included subject-experts such as Naeem Laher, Hugh Fox, Verwey Wiese and Christoph Braxton sharing the latest developments in Information Technology, Retirement Funds and Accounting respectively. Our evening concluded with a thought-provoking presentation by cartoonist, Zapiro, detailing developments over the last 20 years in South African politics and education. At the dinner, we also recognised Chris Elfick's pioneering contribution to our conference when he started it 21 years ago in Port Elizabeth with 25 delegates.
On Day 2, Duncan Adriaans provided feedback from the NACUBO conference in Seattle earlier in 2014 and then Professor Loyiso Nongxa and Ernest Carelse launched our thought leadership publication "Moving Forward : Trends in annual reporting by South African public universities". This was followed by a panel discussion on the relevance of reporting in the Higher Education sector. Africa Melane called on Dr Engela van Staden and Louis Rossouw to join the panel for an intense debate covering stakeholders expectations about reporting, quantitative and qualitative indicators in the sector and the level of corporate governance in the sector, amongst others. Charles de Wet concluded proceedings with a higher education tax update. Our 21st Higher Education conference confirmed once again that PwC remains the undoubted market leaders in higher education.
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