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The Transformational Role of Academic Mentoring in Turbulent Times

ABSTRACT       

The on-going disruptive dynamics associated with the recent nationwide “Fees Must Fall” campaign, specifically in the higher education sector, has combined with a number of other transformational agendas which will change the nature of  South Africa’s academic fabric forever.

Commencing at the turn of the millennium, the restructuring of the higher education sector saw the merging of multiple major academic institutions across the country, effectively cutting, incorporating and merging around 36 universities and technikons into 23 (1) – some of these into truly “mega-institutions”.

Under the leadership of the Minister of Higher Education at the time, Kadar Asmal, this seemingly impossible, potentially volatile and highly politicised task was completed in terms of the main infra-structural and legislative processes and procedures, by around 2007.

In parallel, the essential transformation of the demographic make-up of the new national academic intelligentsia began, and continues today. However, there appear to be increasingly strong arguments that not all the hearts and minds of the previously established academic cohorts have changed sufficiently.

 

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Mentorship - it’s Crucial Role in the Education Crisis

“There are 5 things that need fixing: Education, health, jobs, corruption and crime. There is only one thing that fixes all of these  –  Education”. (Bob Head, ex-CFO of SARS, 2014). The truth of this statement formed  the catalyst and inspiration for my participation, involvement and contribution to the ‘Partners for Possibility Programme’, brain child of founder and CEO, Dr. Louise Van Rhyn.   

Mentorship is not a new concept. It’s been around since Ancient Greek times. (Starting from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC and lasting to the end of antiquity - c. 600 AD).

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