Embedding Service Learning in South African Higher Education: The Catalytic Role of the CHESP Initiative

Lazarus, Jo


Volume Issue Pages DOI / ISBN / ISSN
11 3 91-108 DOI: 10.1080/16823200709487182


Language Country
English Other


Service-learning (SL) was a relatively unknown term in South African (SA) Higher Education (HE) until the late 1990’s. In response to the call of the White Paper on the Transformation of Higher Education for “feasibility studies and pilot programmes which explore the potential of community service in higher education” the Joint Education Trust(1) (JET) launched the Community – Higher Education – Service Partnerships (CHESP) initiative in 1999. The major focus of this initiative was to assist SA Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to conceptualise and implement SL as a means of giving expression to the mandate given in the White Paper. This paper tracks the development of the CHESP initiative and its contribution towards embedding SL in SA HE. The paper highlights some of the key outcomes at an institutional and national level and underpins these through the results of a comprehensive external review of CHESP undertaken in 2007, eight years after the initial launch.


Service Learning; Community Engagement; Institutionalisation

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