Low rates of access and success in post-secondary education are arguably the single biggest challenge facing South Africa's public education system. The sustem is failing to meet the educational needs of young people, a growing economy, and a rapidly changing society. Black students, particularly those from poor backgrounds are deeply affected. Senior managers, 30 in all, at 18 of the country's 23 public universities were interviewed to understand issues such as primary academic interventions designed to support and improve student success. The authors conclude that no single intervention is likely to shift student performance and success. The answer, however, will require "understanding the holistic needs of students." The authors also feel it is crucial that the imporatnce of teaching and learning - as well as research- be understood.