Internal governance imperatives for universities

Adele Thomas


In a world of increasing concern about corporate governance, universities should be at the forefront of role modelling sound governance and promoting the development of moral standards in society in accordance with one of their central mandates. This paper argues that compliance with relevant legislation and higher education policy of the country is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for sound and meaningful governance within universities. What is also required is the exposing and addressing of those ‘less easy to articulate’ and often subtle practices that render meaningless espoused values and that hamper full collegiality that can contribute to the achievement of university objectives. In addition, this omission has resulted in poor role modelling of governance standards to students who pass through universities on their way to becoming future leaders and decision-makers. These are the students who may translate their university experience into the way they influence, in some way, the moral standards of society. The paper concludes by posing three questions, as a start, to guide the interrogation of governance and to begin the process of developing moral responsibility at universities. 


universities; governance; ethics; South Africa; moral responsibility

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