Professor Narend Baijnath was the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Unisa from 2011 to 2016. During his tenure, he was responsible for the academic portfolio of the University. He served as Unisa Vice-Principal: Strategy, Planning and Partnerships from 2005 to 2010.

Professor Baijnath was raised in rural Esenembe, near the KwaZulu-Natal town of Tongaat. As a child, he was such an avid reader that the school librarian, overwhelmed by Baijnath’s appetite for new books, gave him his own keys to the library. Baijnath attended Tongaat Secondary School, the University of Durban–Westville and then the University of the Western Cape (UWC). After a spell at Durham University, where he earned an MA in Applied Linguistics, he returned to UWC to complete his Doctorate in Education. In 1996, he became UWC’s Director of Academic Planning and followed his tenure there with increasingly senior planning positions at Technikon SA and Unisa. Professor Baijnath’s work in institutional transformation has received immense recognition, and many prestigious international boards and academies have honoured him with membership.  He resigned from his position in 2016, becoming CEO of the Council for Higher Education.