Through our higher education activities, British Council South Africa co-commissioned and co-funded a research project with Universities South Africa (USAf). The main objectives of the Baseline research launch held on 27 February was in support of entrepreneurship development in the Higher Education sector as well as aiming to contribute to graduate and youth employability.
Country Director British Council South Africa, Susana Galvan said: " Our involvement with this project was in keeping with the British Council's purpose of learning about the challenges and opportunities of the countries in which they work and seeing how they can add value. The project was also part of what the British Council is doing in support of education in its broad sense, starting with basic, the training and vocational college sector, higher education, arts and culture and social entrepreneurship.”
The Baseline report provides insight into the extent to which the entrepreneurship ecosystem is enabling South Africa’s 26 public universities. The report also encompasses surveys, document analysis, focus groups and interviews, which describes existing practices and ways to improve future practices.
In addition, investigations revealed an increase of entrepreneurship related educational programmes, training and other initiatives across all South African universities.
However, there is currently no policy or regulatory framework to regulate entrepreneurship in the higher education sector. As a result, the research report has brought increased knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurship in the higher education sector which will inform the development of a National Policy Framework to support entrepreneurship development across all South African public universities.
Professor Ahmed Bawa, CEO of USAf, highlighted that due to South Africa's history, "our institutions are not identical. Yet they all have an opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial spirit in their own unique contexts. It is important to base our new programme decisions on empirical evidence. In considering what interventions to put in place, we also need to learn about international best practices - not necessarily to blindly accept practices of other nations but to recognise what has worked elsewhere in deciding our own interventions."