The future for the private tertiary-education institution Monash South Africa seems to be sombre if the comments by its students after learning about its business venture with private education giants ADvTECH are anything to go by.
On 11 September, Monash South Africa announced that the JSE-listed education body ADvTECH was interest in acquiring the institution, although this move was still subject to the finalisation of relevant regulatory and competition commission processes.
The announcement, which was shared on the MSA Facebook page, stirred up a storm on campus and students demonstrated against this decision. Some took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the move, and many were left wondering about their careers and qualifications as the institution was to part ways with Australian-based Monash University.
A MSA student, Ntombikayise Moyo hoped that their qualifications would not be jeopardised by this move. “Monash University needs to make sure that this change will not affect its South Africa graduates and alumni, in the sense that the qualifications obtained at MSA will still be recognised as promised,” she said.
Another student, P-square Sable said the move was robbing students of their futures. “This is daylight robbery. How do you sell us a dream, only to deliver a nightmare? You sold us the biggest university in Australia – Monash University, which is said to be among the top one per cent in the world – but now you want to deliver a college?” he asked in his lengthy comment.
A former student, Adrian Young was relieved that this was happening after he had graduated. “I am so happy that I already got my degree before this happened. Monash South Africa is falling apart and destroying its own reputation … why pay so much money, and for what?” he yelled.
The news has prompted the students to create an online petition to protest against the takeover.
The deal of R343 million, according to Business Insider, has not been finalised due to certain requirement that still need to be met. Professor Louw said, “MSA, a leading South African private tertiary education institution, a joint venture between Monash University and Laureate Education, post-acquisition will continue to offer a world-class education and environment for students. The campus has a strong track record for student employability, outstanding pass rates and qualification completion times, which is a strategic fit with the established brands under The Independent Institute of Education (the IIE), ADvTECH’s higher-education division.”
When asked what prompted the acquisition, Louw replied, “Laureate and Monash University have worked in partnership to boost the capacity of MSA to better support the education needs of South Africa and Africa. An objective of both Monash University and Laureate has been to transition the institution to a good custodian in the local sector. We look forward to the mutually beneficial opportunities this change in ownership will provide in the private higher education environment.
The IIE expressed a keen interest in MSA due to similar aspirations to amplify the education sector and meet the talent needs of South Africa.”
Louw also addressed the uncertainty among students about their qualifications. “The change in ownership is subject to finalisation of the legal and contractual requirements and to the necessary approvals being obtained from the relevant Competition Authorities. Further details will be provided as soon as they become available. MSA, established in 2001, is a recognised and respected tertiary-education provider offering market-aligned programmes. The campus in Ruimsig offers an extensive array of programmes and degrees, from foundation-programme level to master’s degrees. It is anticipated that the offering may be supplemented with additional qualifications from the IIE.
“Existing students will receive their MSA qualification as per the terms of their enrolment, and provided they complete the course requirements within the designated time. They will have the added benefit of additional opportunities stemming from the change in ownership. Students who enrol from the second semester of 2019 will be registered as students of the IIE on the MSA campus,” he explained.
When asked about lecturers in particular losing their jobs, Louw said at this stage they are not looking at retrenchments, “However, synergies and efficiencies may result in recalibration in certain areas of the business. The new relationship may also open doors for future career opportunities,” he envisioned.
If the deal succeeds, Monash will fall under the IIE’s reputable private colleges such as Varsity College, Vega, Business School and Rosebank College, to mention a few.
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