Production of Academics and Stronger Industry Education Partnerships
South Africa faces a challenge in that despite some changes, the current academic labour force is not representative of the country’s racial demographics. In essence the academic labour force is largely white, male and ageing. According to a HESA report on the Next Generation of Academics (May 2011), about one fifth of academics are due to retire in less than a decade, including half of the professoriate. There is major concern in the country that there are not enough existing academics and no postgraduate pipeline to replace those that are due to retire.
With regards to industry/higher education partnerships there is an increasing focus on universities worldwide to play an important role in contributing towards a new knowledge economy that is rapid, competitive, productive and open to innovation. It is believed that universities have the potential to enhance firms’ technological capabilities (Kruss, 2011). At the same time, higher education institutions can also benefit in a variety of ways by collaborating with industry and entering into partnership agreements.
It is against this background that the HRD Council investigated ways of increasing the number of academics in the country and investigate what needs to be done to promote industry/higher education partnerships in research and innovation.
The Production of Academics and Stronger Industry Education Partnerships project aimed to ensure a pipeline of academics who are supported and encouraged to pursue a career in academia. The project also aimed to ensure that those persons that do pursue careers in academia remained in the university system and contributed meaningfully to teaching, research and community development. Lastly, it aimed to strengthen partnerships between Higher Education institutions and industry in research and development.
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“>Executive Project Report here