In April 2012, the Kresge Foundation announced a new commitment to South African higher education that builds on the foundation’s efforts in the United States to improve access and help students succeed academically.
The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion foundation based in the United States which works to expand opportunities in cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health and human services, and through place-based efforts in the city of Detroit, where the foundation was founded in 1924. Kresge’s education programme works to promote post-secondary access and success for low-income, first-generation and under-represented students.
William F.L. Moses, who directs Kresge’s education programme, says enhancing the ability of South African universities to graduate the next generation of knowledge workers will make it possible for the country to compete more effectively in the global economy.
“The research shows that one of the ways we can contribute to systemic change is to help improve data-driven planning and decision-making in the area of student performance. This would enable institutions to propose and implement the kind of reforms needed to improve access and graduation rates,” says Moses.
There are four universities that are involved in this programme:
Saide, the South African Institute for Distance Education, is a non-governmental organization based in Johannesburg but conducting projects throughout South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Saide's task is to contribute to the development of new models of open and distance education practice, that accord with and take forward the values, principles, and goals of the evolving education systems in the Southern African region. It has also paid particular attention to the appropriate use of technology in education and most recently established a Kenya-based initiative, OER Africa, to promote the development and sharing of OER on the African continent.