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FOTIM was founded in late 1995 when representatives of a few institutions in the northern region met to discuss regional collaboration. Membership soon grew to 16, providing a culturally rich and diverse range from small, previously disadvantaged institutions serving the rural areas in which they are located to several of the country's major urban tertiary institutions. As a result of mergers and incorporations determined by the Department of Education, membership has settled at nine.

Given the turbulence of the higher education sector during the past several years, FOTIM has developed and refined its strategy in order to remain relevant, cost-effective and of benefit to its member institutions. From a consortium focused on projects, FOTIM has evolved into one which surfaces user needs, offers support to institutions at various levels, convenes conferences and workshops in current and critical fields of higher education, and encourages discussion fora and interest groups, thus facilitating debate and the exchange of knowledge and best practice in the region.

FOTIM's vision is to create opportunities for the benefit of higher education in the region through collaborative projects and initiatives. Our objectives contain the concepts of co-operation and optimal resource utilization, transformation within higher education, greater mobility of students, and the promotion of equity, diversity and academic excellence. An important benefit to our members is our provision of a neutral forum for debate and a place where the views of others can be heard.

It continues to coordinate common tasks, such as the regional approval of new academic programmes required by the Department of Education, and supports institutions at various levels with policy issues through convening meetings of interested persons for inter-institutional discussion.

FOTIM has several major initiatives currently:

Recognising that a large percentage of learners entering higher education are under-prepared academically, in a strange environment and likely to have difficulty coping, FOTIM is embarking on an exciting new initiative - a virtual education site called VUMA! Through the provision of useful academic, life skills, developmental and informative material to learners via a web portal, which will be available on all campuses and via the Internet, FOTIM will offer user-friendly support to learners, thus enriching their learning experience and helping them to succeed in their studies.

GAELIC, the library consortium which has for many years been FOTIM's major initiative, is focusing on the needs of its member libraries and librarians, and will be available to support these through conferences, symposia and workshops. It continues to play an important leadership role in the library and information sector nationally.

The recognition of prior learning (RPL) website has been developed in response to needs expresses by member institutions. It contains references to relevant documentation, and useful information about RPL, what it is, its purpose, its benefits, FAQs, and the rights and responsibilities of the assessing institution and the candidate. It provides examples of portfolio templates, and a list of persons in the region who are experts in RPL and who are available to assist institutions.

FOTIM is active in several other areas of importance in higher education. These include Quality Assurance, Access, Mentorship, Disability, Human Resource development, Gender and Diversity. Staff members in FOTIM institutions participate enthusiastically in workshops, conferences and discussion fora organized by FOTIM, and appreciate the opportunity provided by the consortium for personal growth through meeting colleagues and exchanging ideas.

FOTIM remains constantly alert to new opportunities through which it can be of benefit to universities and universities of technology in the region and nationally.


FOTIM hosts a number of conferences annually, with themes carefully chosen to fulfill regional and national needs. The conferences are of a high quality with invited international and local speakers sharing their expertise. The conferences are open to all, with preferential rates given to FOTIM members.


Postal Address:
P.O. Box 418
South Africa

Physical Address:
Room 2003
Senate House
Wits University
South Africa

Tel: +27(0)11 717-9362/318-2848/794-6396
Fax: +27(0)11 717-9364

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