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Draft Bill will give Nzimande 'transformation powers'

Nzimande could have the power to decide policy at higher education institutions, including language policy.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande (M). Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A new draft law will give the minister of higher education and training the power to set transformation goals for institutions.

Parliament's Higher Education and Training Portfolio Committee was briefed on the Bill today.

The committee plans to hold public hearings on the higher education amendment bill at Parliament next month.

The Higher Education Amendment Bill gives the minister the power to decide policy at higher education institutions, especially with regard to transformation, including language policy.

Critics fear university autonomy may be eroded.

But Professor Chris de Beer says students' protests over fees show how important it is for transformation targets to be set and met.

"I don't think the insertion in the Act to say the minister now has the power to determine transformation goals for the sector is really impeding on the institutional autonomy."

De Beer, who helped draft the Bill, says the minister already has the power to set enrolment targets.

He says this is done in consultation with institutions, and that the same process will apply to setting transformation goals.

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