In 2016, Vaal University of Technology celebrates its 50th anniversary as an institution of higher learning.
Vaal University of Technology was originally founded as a College for Advanced Technical Education in 1966. It became a Technikon in 1979. With the advent of the new higher education landscape in 2004, the institution was granted the status of a University of Technology; hence, the name Vaal University of Technology (VUT). In 2014, the University celebrated its 10th anniversary as a University of Technology (UoT), the aspiration and strategy of which are encapsulated in its Vision and Mission Statement.
The Technikon Act of 1993, empowered the University to provide degree studies and confer Technikon degrees at three levels; namely, Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral levels.
The qualifications were to be designated as National Higher Diploma, Baccalaureus Technologiae, Magister Technologiae, and Laureatus in Technology/Doctor Techologiae degree. These qualifications were understood to be different in character to the degrees offered by traditional universities.
On 2 August 2013, the government published the revised Higher Education qualification Framework (HEQsF) for higher education in South Africa in order to level the playing field and enable students to move easily and more effectively from one qualification to the next, as well as between institutions. VUT offers the following qualifications to comply with the requirements of the sub-framework, namely: Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma, Masters and Doctoral Degrees
The change of status to a Technikon presented a significant challenge for the University. It entailed a shift from an institution concerned with preparing students for a particular occupation or industry that are oriented towards the practice, promotion and transfer of technology to one, which disseminates knowledge through teaching and facilitates acquisition of knowledge through learning, research and scientific enquiry.
The new status as a UoT has inspired the University to compete with other universities by, in addition to teaching and learning, embracing research, community outreach, public service and other cultural activities consistent with university tradition. This is done while retaining and deepening the rich Technikon strength in co-operative education at its main campus at Vanderbijlpark, and three sites of delivery at Ekurhuleni, Secunda and Upington.