VUT WELCOMES DELEGATES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 25 October 2022
As part of the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP), delegates from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recently visited the Vaal University of Technology (VUT). The meeting was held at the VUT Council Chambers.
The main purpose of the visit was to assess progress on the implementation of the UCDP project activities and utilisation of allocated funds for the programme, to identify and address implementation challenges. In addition, the meeting also sought to provide clarity on any other UCDP issues that the University would like to address, as well as discuss plans and the progress that is being made in implementing them.
Primarily, the visit forms part of the mandate the delegates from DHET has, which is to conduct monitoring site visits to all universities and discuss the UCDP plans.
In his welcoming remarks, Professor (Prof) Ntate Dan Kgwadi, VUT Vice Chancellor and Principal said he looks forward to the review and advise from the DHET delegates. He highlighted that the University has recently just come out of Administration and despite all the challenges and issues, the core business of the University is still intact. He further emphasised that the University has committed staff members and academics. “The recent rating to number 19 from 23, shows that the institution can go up in the next five years.”
Adding to the VC’s remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Teaching , Learning and Student Support Services, Prof Maggie Linington said that she has learnt so much over the two years of working with the UCDP. She furthermore attested that the help from DHET has contributed immensely to the development of staff members and students. She added: “The University has stretched its target in terms of improving learning capabilities and student performance and it is moving happily from the 23% production of PhD’s – we are grateful to UCDP.”
Ms Mandisa Cakwe (Acting Chief Director: Teaching and Development: University Branch-DHET) commended VUT for staff development and emphasized that the purpose of the visit is not to play police but to provide support where needed. “When the implementation of the UCDP started VUT was at the bottom, in 2005 – 2016 there was a bit of improvement. At the current moment the University sits at 23%, of which is very good, clearly UCDP has played its role,” she said. She then spoke on the purpose of the visit, reiterating that in the past two years they were unable to undertake visits and that they are now resuscitating them and monitoring on UCDP progress. Their main points of the visit also include the review of the standard operating procedure of the UCDP, discussion of the new UCDP cycle – aimed at taking note of the challenges brought by COVID-19, solutions-based pertaining to NSFAS shortfalls and on issues of articulation (Internally). It was also proposed that the University should start thinking about partnering with TVET colleges to bridge the existing gaps taking note that some of the students in TVET’s aspire to be academics. The team will then look at the stumbling blocks and find ways to accommodate them.
Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili,the Executive Director: Centre for Academic Development (CAD) at VUT presented to the delegates the UCDP Grant Management Structure – plan overview reflecting on the funds allocation, alignment of projects, expenditure versus implementation and factors acting as barriers with proposed solutions.