Centre for Higher Education Transformation
As an organisation, it is important to be clear about what the mode of intervention is. In post-apartheid South Africa, progressives who had not joined government got involved in policy in different ways. For example, the Treatment Action Campaign started with the traditional South African mode of street protests, but then switched to writing a comprehensive HIV/Aids policy, including an implementation plan. They then mobilised support for the policy package, and, owing to the combined weakness of the health department and, subsequently, the President (Mbeki), the government capitulated and accepted the whole plan. Equal Education, who many people regard as the ‘new’ TAC, and indeed has its roots in TAC, is a very different kind of organisation. It does not write or contest policy; rather, through a combination of street protest and legal challenges, they try to hold government accountable for implementation/delivery. CHET, in contrast, being somewhat path‐dependent on the history of the education struggle, decided to try and give organisational form to an earlier observation, namely, that: “We can see the emergence of a new kind of institutional grouping, one that is expressly constituted as a forum for the consideration of public issues between contending interest groups, as well as between these and state officials” (Muller and Cloete, 1993).
This self-reflective review provides a historical perspective on CHET's evolution as an organisation, and how it defined its role in higher education policy reform.