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Professor Narend Baijnath

It is with much sadness to report that Narend Baijnath, member of the Magna Charta Observatory (MCO) Governing Council, died on 1 May, 2022. His untimely passing is a terrible loss to the entire global higher education community.


Narend joined the MCO Governing Council in November 2020 providing wise counsel and guidance at every opportunity. He was working on the planning committee for the 2022 anniversary conference, leading one of the plenary sessions. Prior to joining the Council, Narend was a member of the group responsible for drafting the Magna Charta Universitatum 2020.


Few could match Narend’s accomplishments and qualifications in advancing higher education globally. His career saw him hold the role of chief executive officer at South Africa’s Council on Higher Education, pro vice chancellor at the University of South Africa, and prior to that he served in the roles of vice president of strategy, planning and partnerships, and vice president of research and planning at the university.


Professor Baijnath held a Doctorate from the University of the Western Cape and a master’s degree from Durham University. He taught at the universities of Cape Town and Western Cape and was the director of academic planning there prior to joining Technikon SA as Dean of Community Sciences.


He was Chair of the Commonwealth of Learning, a member of the Science Academy of South Africa, a fellow at St. Edmunds College, Cambridge University and a research professor at The Open University in the United Kingdom. Professor Baijnath also served on several boards of other regulatory bodies in South Africa and in 2014, was elected honorary vice-president of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities.


People with Narend's wide and deep experience are rare, and few who have that experience are as graceful, kind or have such good humour. It was both a personal and professional pleasure to work with him and he will be greatly missed.


We extend our thoughts and condolences to his family, friends, and close colleagues.

Published on 6 May 2022