The South African Higher Education Community Engagement Forum (SAHECEF) met at the University of Western Cape, in Cape Town, on 3 and 4 April 2014. There were 60 leading community engagement advocates and academics involved across South African universities, including the advisor to the national Minister of Higher Education and Training.
During a special session, Professor Shirley Walters was asked to introduce the GUNi Report “Higher Education in the World 5. Knowledge Engagement and Higher Education: Contributing to the Social Change”. Prof Walters emphasized the global reach of the book and drew attention to the description which states that it “explores the critical dimensions of the roles and potential roles of knowledge, civil society and higher education institutions as active players in contributing to the creation of a more just and sustainable world”. She emphasized that this book could form an extremely useful text for the study of community engagement and she encouraged the Forum to organize reading clubs or study circles to grapple with the critical debates that are contained in it.
The report explores higher education engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa and includes insight views on South Africa, Eastern Africa and Nigeria; and spot lights issues such as women’s empowerment, health service or contribution to the Millenium Development Goals. Good practices and main regional networks on engagement and HE in Africa are described in the report as well.
Shirley Walters is Founding Director and Professor of Adult and Continuing Education at the Division for Lifelong Learning at University of Western Cape Town in South Africa. She is the co-author of the report chapter: “Knowledge, engagement and Higher Education in Africa”, together with George Openjuru, professor from Makerere University (Uganda).