South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
GOVINDER, Kesh S.; ZONDO, Nombuso P and MAKGOBA, Malegapuru W.. A new look at demographic transformation for universities in South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2013, vol.109, n.11-12, pp.1-11. ISSN 1996-7489.
We used our previously defined 'Equity Index' to determine the demographic profile of the 23 universities in South Africa's higher education sector. We undertook an analysis of the demographic profiles of both students and staff based on audited 2011 data from the Higher Education Management Information System. We also considered an equity-weighted research index. We show the general applicability of the Euclidean formula in calculating 230 equity indices within the university sector. All institutions in the country were ranked in these categories. These rankings are quite instructive as to the demographics of the sector, both nationally and for individual institutions. No university has reached the ideal Overall Equity Index of zero and none falls within a 5% tolerance of the national demographic data. Four groups of universities emerge: those with good equity indices and low research productivity; those with poor equity indices and low research productivity; those with poor equity indices and high research productivity; and, finally, those with good equity indices and high research productivity. This index is the first quantitative measure that can be incorporated into an analysis of transformation. The Equity Index adds an innovative 'new look' to the profile and differentiation of the South African higher education landscape, and should become an important policy tool in steering the system towards a notion of transformation that connects, rather than disconnects, equity, development and differentiation. The index may also become a useful universal measurement of equity in higher education (and other) systems globally.
Keywords : transformation; universities; demographics; equity index; ranking.