The word “kuali” is of Malaysian origin, and signifies a humble kitchen wok that plays an important role in any successful kitchen. The popular slogan is “Keep your money in your Mission”.

Kuali is an international collaborative effort between universities to develop their own administrative systems. At the turn of the century, universities in the USA were collectively spending more than $5 billion per year on commercially vended ERP systems, suitably modified for the higher education environment. In South Africa, we use the same systems from the same vendors, and an implementation can cost a single university anywhere between tens to hundreds of millions of rand. So, whether in the USA or in South Africa, this is a lot of money that could have been used to further the mission of higher education.

With a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, a group of like-minded universities started writing their own administrative software: Software for higher education, by higher education. Since 2004, this collaboration has grown to include more than 80 members from the US, Europe and South Africa, and 12 systems are being developed, ranging from financial systems to research administration systems.

Today, Kuali systems have a proven track record of costing a fraction of equivalent commercial implementations, and for having a better functional fit on higher education’s unique business model.

At the NWU Kuali forms the foundation of the current Financial System (KFS), new automated Institutional Committee for Academic Standards System (ICAS) as well as the Guest Registration service.

17 July 2015