Unisa graduates are ready to serve

Prof Puleng LenkaBula

Captains of industry and other luminaries descended on the Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s Business Dinner on 20 October 2021 at the university’s main campus. The purpose of the event was to discuss how these leaders can engage with Unisa on the one hand, and how academia can help to meet the practical needs and requirements of the industry on the other.

The partnerships to be formed are aimed at identifying common goals and mutual interests, and also to foster solutions for long-term collaboration. This allowed for open and frank conversations that could bring practical solutions to the challenges that universities and graduates are currently facing.

The theme of the event was "Collaboration opportunities with captains of industry: A shared goal towards shared prosperity". Many speakers and industry players echoed that strategic partnerships are the key to achieving this goal.

Bridgette Radebe-Motsepe

Bridgette Radebe-Motsepe, Pan-African Parliament ambassador for South Africa, mining magnate and businesswoman extraordinaire, highlighted the need for academic institutions to produce graduates who not only have academic skills, but also soft skills that will help to serve the current needs of the continent and the country. "Patriotic capitalist graduates whose focus is not only on making money are needed," she said. "They must stay true to their roots, pay their taxes, and address the needs of the country and future generations."

Prof Bonang Mohale, President: Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), decried the fact that South Africa was in the doldrums even before the Covid-19 pandemic came to our shores. He said that the country’s economy received a blow when it was downgraded by Moody’s credit rating agency. "The economy needs to recover and business has new roles to play post-Covid-19," he said.

Prof Bonang Mohale

Prof LenkaBula invited partnerships, saying that these should "not only enhance Unisa’s programmes to better contribute to economic growth and prosperity, but also to enable our students to contribute to growth and prosperity in an active and creative manner". She said that Unisa is responsible for 35% of the post-school education system. "This means that if we do not ensure that our students succeed, we are failing our society in the quest to produce economically active citizens who can transform it," she said.

Unisa is seeking to conclude partnerships, cooperation agreements, collaborations and synergies with the business sector. This drive includes identifying synergies and increasing research capacity, and a special focus on marine sciences.

* By Busisiwe Mahlangu, Communications Coordinator, Department of Institutional Advancement

** Further coverage of this event to follow.

Publish date: 2021/10/21