|STARTING A FRESH|
Hardy Monnakgotla: Alumni Coordinator Some of the VUT Alumni during the function
For many years, the Vaal University of Technology has been condemned for the inability to take care of its alumni. VUT acknowledges this as she puts her focus on starting afresh. The appointment of the new Alumni Coordinator, Mr Hardy Monnakgotla during February this year, was one such forward move.
On Thursday 23 July 2009, VUT hosted over fifty former students during an Alumni Business Gala Dinner that was sponsored by Professionals Provident Service (PPS). During the welcoming remarks, Mr Monnakgotla explained the purpose of the event as a step towards many other formal and informal meetings through which alumni will touch base with the institution. He urged the alumni to partner with the university through programmes and other initiatives that will be implemented by the Alumni Office. “We urge you to submit inputs and suggestions in order to make this office an interactive link between VUT and its Alumni’, Monnakgotla said.
Arguing that no university can operate successfully without its alumni, Prof I N Moutlana: Vice Chancellor and Principal of VUT, crafted a picture of an ideal relationship between alumni and the institution. “Teaching, learning and research, as the core purpose of the University’s key elements, is regarded by Trow  as the “private life” of Higher Education. Thus any changes in the country’s constitution and orientation are likely to have a profound effect, perhaps more than changes in the socio-economic, political cultural positioning of Higher Education, which arguably are aspects of its “public life”. It is against this backdrop that the alumni role and responsibilities become a factor that cannot be overlooked. “This implies that you definitely have a say, directly or indirectly, in the affairs of your Alma Mater” said Prof Moutlana.
While stating that the university is doing well in most areas in comparison to the yester-years, the Vice Chancellor acknowledged that there are still many challenges, including transformation issues, partnerships with industry, skills shortage and training, recruitment etc. She appealed to the alumni to avail themselves in addressing these issues. Prof Moutlana asked the alumni to inform the university about issues of relevance regarding the programmes offered by the university and also to support and sponsor ideas and initiatives that would be implemented by the university.
In response to the Principal of the university, Mr Sasabona Mangani, who was representing the alumni, shared his appreciation to the university for the efforts to bring the alumni back into the institution. ‘For me, this is a new beginning for even bigger things to come...” said Sasabona who believes a platform has been created in which alumni will be able to engage in issues that were brought forward. He suggested that VUT should reach out to its alumni around the country and involve the Cooperative Education Department in all the activities targeted towards alumni.
As a step to solidify this relationship, VUT launched a Vice-Chancellor`s Endowment Fund which aims to provide bursaries to the needy and academically deserving learners, in particular, those who are from historically disadvantaged communities. In partnership with VUT, PPS will sponsor all the Alumni related activities on campus in order to establish and sustain the said fund. PPS is a registered guaranty company which has assisted tertiary institutions like UCT, NWU, UP, UZ and UKZN to establish the VC’s endowment fund.
Among the guests of honor were the Mayor of Emfuleni Local Municipality: Cllr A Mshudulu, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Academic, Prof A Louw, and Deputy Vice Chancellor: Governance & Operations, Prof G Zide.