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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Business Mathematics and Informatics: a Case Study of Curriculum Restructuring at the North West University in South Africa Kees Boersma Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

2 A Mutual Agreement… In reference to the joint conversations between PU and ASBA with respect to the alliance in order to start up a course on Business Mathematics and Informatics at the University and the use of it by us, we gladly want to confirm the approval by the ABSA-Committee to financially cover the estimated costs of the course. We will evaluate the collaboration after 5 years from now. (Letter from ABSA Bank to the rector of the PU, 3 February 1997; Archives of NWU).

3 Overall research question
How do organizational actors implement and give meaning to ideas and policies of Higher Education in their local situation? In my approach I use theories from the fields of Science and Technology Studies, Higher Education Research and Organization Studies: Mode2 (Gibbons), heterogeneity of HE (e.g. Rip) and the entrepreneurial university (Clark) as empirical questions, institutionalization patterns (DiMaggio) and travelling of ideas (Czarniawska and Joerges), sensemaking processes (Weick) in a actor-network approach (Callon and others).

4 Specific research questions
Why and how did the local policymakers of the South African North West University (NWU) ‘invent’ and implement Business Mathematics and Informatics (BMI), which parties became involved and how did BMI affect the research and curriculum of the faculty of Natural Sciences? What is Business Mathematics and Informatics? What parties became involved and how do the different relevant actors give meaning to BMI? What is the outcome of BMI at the NWU? Co-authors of the paper: Carools Reinecke and Michael Gibbons

5 The inter-disciplinary profile
Research in the context of application

6 The context: motives for implementing BMI internationally
Practical: declining amount of students in mathematics, Policy: commodification of scientific activities: interrelationship between academia and industry (in a Mode 2 fashion), Processes: standardization and modeling within disciplines, sector-specific mathematical and statistical analysis (e.g. within the financial industry: risk analysis and the Basel regulations).

7 BMI at the North West University
The NWU is the outcome of a merger: Potchefstroom campus (Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education) since ‘In 1998 the Statute of the PUK was completely rewritten to enable the PUK to continue to fulfill its important role as part of the single, co-ordinated system of higher education in South Africa, while reserving its institutional culture of Christian higher education, based on its original foundation’ (website). Mafikeng campus Vaal Triangle campus

8 Number of students enrolled per campus
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Mafikeng 7674 8667 9652 9001 8488 8966 Potchefstroom 23875 25606 27485 26391 26849 41484 Vaal Triangle 1 567 2123 3008 3204 3372 3354 Total 33116 36396 40145 38596 38709 53804 These numbers are including distance students

9 Policy: NWU as a Mode 2 University
Mode 2: a change instrument at the NWU

10 BMI in the context of South Africa
The actors: HE policy of the South African government after the apartheid, The local policy of the NWU as a HE institute, The policy of the ABSA Bank.

11 South African GOVERNMENT
Challenge Policy Responses Nation building The rainbow-nation as the ideal (Mandela, 1994) Transformation The transformation of higher education specifically relates to redress of past inequities, to serve a new social order, to meet pressing national needs and to respond to new realities and opportunities. (Bengu, 1997). A national culture: The Constitution of South Africa, Act no 108 of 1996. *Comprehensive initiatives The production of a new comprehensive policy for higher education through an extensive process of investigation and consultation. Education White Paper 3 - A Programme for Higher Education Transformation, Government Gazette, No , of 15 August 1997. New Resources for funding HE institutes The implementation of a new funding framework for the allocation of subsidy to institutions. Directed resources are made available for niche areas as defined in programmes like THRIP (Bok Marais)

12 North West UNIVERSITY Responses
Challenge Policy Responses Regulation of higher education The act includes a preamble of 10 intensions, of which one intention encourages institutions to respond to the human resource, economic and developmental needs of the Republic. Merger The Minister of Education 2002 amends section 23(1) of the higher education act to enable him to merge institutions of higher education. NWU is the outcome of a merger. * Statute of the PU The Council of the PU approved a new statute for the University to comply with the requirements of the new higher education act. * Decision of the Council PU's Council decided on 27 June 2002 to accept in principle the unavoidability of the merger with UNE, but then with other modalities and different timeframes than those appearing in the notices. * Vision and strategy A new vision statement and strategic plan was developed and implemented. Reference to quality, the entrepreneurial approach and societal responsiveness. Focus Areas for advanced education and research including BMI. Unity in diversity The physical size, stage of development and educational offerings of the components of the merged institutions differ(ed) extensively.

13 Processes: BMI at the NWU
Declining amount of students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences Institutionalization: BMI at NWU as part of an international network: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (inspirator), Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (benchmark). Local networks: relations with the ABSA bank, BMI as a new Focus Area.

14 ABSA BANK Challenge Policy Responses National regulation
Diversification of the employees (due to the 1997 South African Labour Relations Act and the Bill on Employment Equity) International regulation The Basel accords contain fundamental innovations to introduce greater risk sensitivity into the accord.  Amalgamation Leaders at the parochial banks in the South Africa of the beginning 1990’s realized that size is the name in modern banking. The leaders took the road of amalgamation of small banks, which became Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA). * Financial risk management Risk management may be defined as the process of protecting one’s person or organization intact in terms of assets and income directed by quantitative financial models. A Centre for BMI The initiative of PUCHE to direct the focus in its mathematical and IT academics towards BMI opened a unique opportunity for ABSA to get important risk-related topics researched, as well as securing the appointment of new experts in this field. The centre is another possible means to meet the government’s demand to hire more black employees.

15 The center BMI at the NWU

16 The growth of student numbers

17 # Students per Year ABSA 8 5 11 9 7 10 66 (52%) 2 3 6 1 4 21 26 14 20
Client organization # Students per Year Total # 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 ABSA 8 5 11 9 7 10 66 (52%) Other Banks 2 3 6 35 (28%) Other Comp. 1 4 25 (20%) TOTAL 21 26 14 20 126 (100%)

18 Distribution of alumni of the Centre for BWI

19 Research: A comparison between the publication output by the BMI Focus Area for the period (triangle to the left) and the period (triangle to the right). The numbers at the bottom of the triangles indicate the total publication output. The publications purely in the fields of business sciences (B), mathematical sciences (M) or information sciences (I) were counted, and placed in the circles at the respective B, M or I corners.

20 Discussion: heterogeneity at BMI and NWU!?
Two major problems: BMI is very much dependent on the cooperation with the financial industry (esp. ABSA), The NWU still struggles with the past.

21 Business orientation at NWU/BMI
More News about the Centre (http://www.puk.ac.za/fakulteite/natuur/bwi/index_e.html): BMI Research results in the founding of a new company [Read more ] Bond Exchange of SA and Centre for BMI sign memorandum of understanding. [Read more] Prof. PJ de Jogh place a leading roll in the establishment of the GARP Executive Committee of SA. [Read more] Professor Machiel Kruger associated with the Centre for BMI, who win the 2005 SAS Academic Intelligence Award - developed a Sudoku Puzzle-solver using SAS. [Read more] Professor Dawie de Jongh on the Editorial Board of GARP Digital Library. [Read more] Absa signs two contracts with NWU's Centre for BMI. [Read more]

22 NWU in the context of South Africa
‘This NWU innovation, further, takes places within a highly racialised university community that remains deeply divided and in which the knowledge roots of the institution (and that is what it is) continues to observe deeply held Christian National beliefs, epistemologies and practices; to think that a business-oriented mathematics program in such a context would suddenly render liberating outcomes on matters of equity and diversity is, quite frankly, naive.’ A remark of a reviewer to an earlier version.

23 Discussion and conclusion
Mode 2 as a policy instrument and as a sensitizing concept, BMI is the outcome of a balancing act: mathematic research and education became more heterogeneous but also focussed on the financial sector, conserving the own identity at Potchefstroom and the pressure towards the integration of three campuses, The outcome of BMI: ABSAdized scholarship at the NWU Centre for BMI, NWU (should) enrich the academic portfolio in more heterogeneous ways (Rip).

24 Number of students enrolled per race at NWU
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Asian 283 325 321 338 616 898 Black 20131 21714 24969 23454 22412 32606 Coloured 791 1050 1255 1195 1220 1577 White 10300 11447 12662 13389 14288 18694 Other 1611 1860 938 220 173 29 Total  33116  36396  40145 38596 38709 53804 

25 Number of students enrolled per race at Mafikeng
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Asian 27 30 20 18 21 Black 7600 8536 9592 8914 8305 8107 Coloured 16 57 26 53 72 White 31 44 15 41 108 762 Other 4 Total 7674 8667 9652 9001 8488 8966

26 Number of students enrolled per race at Potchefstroom
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Asian 220 254 245 256 526 804 White 9333 10493 11596 12166 12914 16651 Coloured 739 946 1202 1127 1116 1448 Black 11972 12065 13747 12747 12182 22557 Other 1611 1848 695 95 111 24 Total 23875 25606 27485 26391 26849 41484 

27 Number of students enrolled per race at Vaal Triangle
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Asian 36 41 49 62 72 73 White 936 910 1051 1182 1266 1281 Coloured 47 35 42 51 57 Black 559 1113 1630 1793 1925 1942 Other 12 243 125 58 1 Total 1567  2123  3008 3204 3372 3354


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