Study Shines Spotlight on Access to SA Higher Education

Doctor of Administration graduate Dr Salamina Dzingwa’s research study was titled: The Centralised Applications System: Staff and Student Perceptions at the Durban University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It was supervised by Professor Fayth Ruffin.

‘KZN is the only province in the country with a centralised application system, managed by the Central Applications Office, a non-profit organisation. The research was aimed at determining if the Centralised Applications System (CAS) is a fit model for applications processing. This was achieved through captured lessons of captured lessons of CAO users from UKZN AND DUT. This centralised model Post School Education and Training Central Applications Service (PSET-CAS) is going to be implemented nation-wide for applications processing by all HEIs in South Africa. This applied research produces knowledge on policy implementation strategies with recommendations for administrative enhancement of access to Higher Education applications challenges, nationally,’ said Dzingwa.

As Senior Deputy Registrar at the Vaal University of Technology, Dzingwa is well versed in the issues affecting students within Higher Education and passionate about exploring solutions to the challenges.

‘This subject is close to my heart. I believe access to HE should translate to success. So, it is very important that decision-makers consider the impact that these system changes may have on the potential students and the sector at large, given the fourth industrial revolution. We do not want to have systems that hinder access for our young aspiring students, especially those in remote rural areas. Rather, we want to have systems that makes it effortless and yet economical for our societies to access HE,’ she said.

While a PhD was not part of her plans, Dzingwa was overwhelmed when, upon completing her masters, feedback from the examiners recommended that it be converted to a PhD.

‘I was in awe, and total disbelief. A pass would have been good enough, but an upgrade was more than I had expected. I had to reframe, readjust, and pull myself together, because this offer had strict timelines. A PhD is definitely the ultimate goal in Higher Education leadership,’ she said.

Words: Thandi Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan