MUT hosts HEITSA Spring General Institutional Meeting

HEITSA delegates at MUT

All the delegates that attended the HEITSA Spring General Institutional meetingMangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) had the distinct honour of hosting the Higher Education Information Technology South Africa (HEITSA) Spring General Institutional Meeting (SGIM) on 24 and 25 October 2023. This annual event brought together Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Senior Managers from South Africa’s 26 universities, totalling 60 delegates, in a unique forum to exchange ideas, initiatives, and knowledge.

Dr Marlo de Swardt, the Senior Director of IT&N at MUT and a director on the board of HEITSA, highlighted the significance of HEITSA SGIM: “This event serves as a platform where senior leaders can collectively shape the digital future of higher education in South Africa. The event allows us to share ideas, best practices, and foster collaborative efforts, ultimately benefitting not just our institutions but the broader academic community and, by extension, the nation.”

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning at MUT, Dr Manyane Makua’s opening remarks set the stage for “an insightful and engaging” agenda: “The Future of Education”.

Project Manager for the event, Danielle Venter, said that HEITSA SGIM was a vital gathering that rotates between different universities each year. Venter said that HEITSA SGIM’s primary purpose was to encourage senior leaders in the South African higher education sector to share their latest insights, innovations, and best practices, “thereby fostering collaboration and collective growth among the nation’s universities. In addition, the event is enriched by the participation of various technology partners who set up sponsor areas to showcase their latest IT hardware and software, offering a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of information technology”.

Delivering the keynote address Paul Riley, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner Research and Advisory, enlightened attendees with his presentation on the “Top Business and Technology Trends in Higher Education 2023.” Venter said the presentation was “an eye-opener” into the rapidly changing landscape of higher education, and how technology plays a pivotal role in shaping its future.

During the two days of the event, the attendees delved into various topics of relevance. The attendees explored challenges and triumphs in “Navigating Cross-University Collaboration & Research Dynamics”. They are emphasising the importance of building synergistic partnerships across institutions. “Moreover, there was an examination of what it means to cultivate a “Digital Mindset” in this era of rapid technological transformation, stressing the need for universities to adapt and innovate in response to the changing digital landscape,” said Venter.

Venter said that the HEITSA SGIM 2023 “not only provided a platform for sharing innovative ideas and initiations, “but also reaffirmed the importance of technology in shaping the future of higher education in South Africa. This event stands as a testament to the commitment of South African universities to work together for the greater good of education in the nation”, said Venter. Venter added that the legacy of HEITSA SGIM 2023 would “undoubtedly contribute to the advancement of higher education in South Africa for years to come”.