Governance of risks in South Africa’s public higher education institutions (HEIs)

  • Published July 4, 2016
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    Volume 13 2016, Issue #2 (cont. 1), pp. 226-234

The author examines the manner in which risk is governed within higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa by formulating risk governance statements based on the requirements of the King III Report on Corporate Governance and other relevant literature. The formulated risk governance statements are used to develop the risk disclosure measurement index. Disclosure measurement method is accepted as a flexible method to use when extracting the pre-determined information in the annual reports.
The developed risk disclosure index is used to extract the information from South Africa’s higher education institutions’ annual reports. The information disclosed in these annual reports is deemed a proxy of risk management practices within the higher education institution concerned. The results obtained indicate that South Africa’s higher education institutions have not embraced risk management as a key process in their activities. This is apparent in the assessed annual reports as compliance with the pre-determined set of statements was around 50%. For those that have not demonstrated these practices, it is stated that the concern is around the manner in which their highest decision makers make decisions, as it appears that risks may not necessarily be taken into account. As higher education institutions in South Africa continues to face challenges and they would possible be revising their strategies to take into account the recent events, every strategic decision being undertaken should be accompanied by a proper risk assessment to identify potential pitfalls (threats) and/or take advantage to achieve results promptly (opportunities)

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