Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande says the recruitment for the first intake of 125 posts for a New Generation of Academics' Programme (nGAP) is underway.
The nGAP involves the recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics, against carefully designed and balanced equity considerations and in light of the disciplinary areas of greatest need.
The most important features of the programme are that successful applicants are appointed into permanent posts firmly factored into long-term staffing plans right from the outset.
The nGAP covers a six year period for each cohort taken into the programme, covering a three-year development programme plus three years induction thereafter.
The universities are expected to provide an annual report to the department on the progress of nGAP academics at the end of each year of the six year cycle.
Minister Nzimande said the advertisement for the first intake of 125 posts was placed in newspapers for prospective students to apply in May. The department will start recruitment through universities for 2016.
These are permanent posts and enable applicants to participate in a comprehensive development programme that includes the provision of a mentor, registration for a higher degree where appropriate, an international mobility experience, short courses in teaching and research development, said Minister Nzimande.
He said the target is that at least 80% of the posts will be filled by black/women South Africans.
Minister Nzimande said achieving quality in all the roles of a university, including teaching, research and social engagement, depends to a large extent on the availability of adequate numbers of capable staff at universities.
The challenge is multi-faceted, having to do with the slow pace of transformation, regeneration and change, the ageing workforce, developments in higher education worldwide that demand ever greater levels of expertise from staff.
The relatively under qualified academic staff workforce and low numbers of postgraduate students representing an inadequate pipeline for the recruitment of future academics, the Minister said.
It is calculated that the sector will need to recruit at least 1 200 new academics per annum to respond to historical backlogs, cater for staff attrition and to accommodate planned growth.
(c) 2015 Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers