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This review of the public higher education (HE) systems shows that although the system has made major advances towards greater equity and efficiency, the legacy of apartheid lingers on. The chapter considers the flows of students into and out of HE in the review period and the implications of enrolment and graduation trends for the achievement if national goals, as well as the important issue of student funding. Analysis of the data reveals that participation rates of African and colored youth remain low, and they are not performing as well as the other population groups. Students are dropping out of HE at an alarming rate, often because they cannot afford to stay at university. At the same time. There has been a radical restructuring of the HE system. Leading to the merging of some institutions and the creation of new institutional types. The chapter raises questions about the potential implications of these changes for HE institutions' research performance and capacity, in the light of increasing emphasis on the rile of the university in national innovation development. It concludes that those universities which have led the research field in the past will in all likelihood continue to do so. While the new comprehensive institutions will struggle to improve their research capacity under the weight of their diverse institutional commitments.