“Men at times are the masters of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” so said Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Irene Moutlana when she shared a quote by William Shakespeare in her speech at the VUT 2017 Academic opening that was held at the VUT Desmond Tutu Hall on 24 February.
“Fate lies not in the stars but in us; we can decide our destiny. If the future is to be bright, it will not be because the stars have aligned, but because we have worked together very hard,” said Prof Moutlana. She encouraged the students to brand themselves and said she is where she is today because she yearned for a bright future. She also assured students that the lecturers are committed to taking the students to their dreams. “A hero lies in each and every one of you. Let’s hold hands, dream together, you are the future,” she said and declared the year a year of the Lord and officially opened VUT for 2017.
“Respect the other person. United we shall stand and every soul in VUT, before the eyes of God, counts as much. Practice applying these keys, especially the first one. They will unlock 2017 and take VUT to greater heights,” urged Dr Hendrick Langa in his prayer address
Mr Mike Khuboni; Executive Director: Corporate Affairs welcomed the members of council present: the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deans from all faculties, strategic partners, the Student Representative Council, unions, VUT staff and, of course, the students. He said: “I am greatly honoured to welcome everyone and am privileged to greet students from all over the world, especially at this time, when higher education is unpredictable. In 2016 we embarked in a marketing campaign and we received 22 000 applications from prospective students who expressed interest in our institution. I thank and encourage the team that made this possible. South Africa is alive with possibilities; be the change you want to see in the world.”
All four VUT faculty heads shared their faculty synopsis and highlights from 2016. The Department of Human Sciences’ Dean, Prof Riana van der Bank boasted about having the first Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Livelihood. Highlights included the development of an advanced Safety Diploma, Nestle collaborations and the B Ed being approved by the Department of Higher Education. There was also the success rate of 75% and a pass rate of 84% to be proud of.
Prof Roy Dhurup, Dean of Management Sciences, said his department strives in Accountancy, Marketing, Human Sciences, Retail and Logistics in order to keep up with the country’s priorities and endeavours to meet both national and international standards. As the largest faculty in the University, it has 17 Master’s Students and four Doctoral students. The department also boasts an Enactus team actively involved in community endeavors. He urged students to take full advantage of such opportunities.
Representing Prof Raymond Mabuza for the Applied and Computer Sciences was Prof Bob Naidoo. He shared that his faculty has seven departments and an Institute of Research. With a retention rate of 74%, a success rate of 64%, an 81 % pass rate and 73 % of students placed in Work Integrated Learning programmes, the faculty has much of which to be proud. The faculty has 15 active researchers and 26 doctoral students. Among their highlights is their research that has been highly cited by various countries and three standing bursaries from the National Research Forum (NRF).
“Although VUT is at the bottom five in research, it is now sprouting and collaborating on national and international levels with countries such as Nigeria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, India and the United Kingdom. The VUT labs have also been recently audited and found fit,” he said.
Prof Maurice Ndenge, Dean of the Engineering and Technology Faculty, said his faculty has eight departments, three of which operate under Electrical Engineering. The faculty has the largest number of registered students; it has full accreditation on all programmes and operates with three researchers rated by the NRF. The students leave the University with a qualification that enables them to work anywhere in the world. “We work closely with the industry and have collaborations with advisory boards.” he said.
Dr Joe Molete from the VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park also gave a brief overview of what the Science Park does and encouraged the students with these words: “Let’s make the world a better place.”