News & Media

Lekgotla concluded on a high note

The first Principal and Vice Chancellor’s Lekgotla for 2023 has drawn to a close, with deliberations on reclaiming Africa’s intellectual futures for Unisa’s 150th anniversary year set to continue taking centre stage at the next session later this year.

Attendees came committed to ensuring that the deliberations were not just talks, but were practical, solutions-oriented debates.

Key issues

Providing an overview of the successful Lekgotla, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Puleng LenkaBula, thanked participants for their attendance and for deliberating on key issues such as how to support the strategy of the university on student-centred matters, research agendas, engaged scholarship, teaching and learning, and the academic agenda.

The VC also extended her appreciation to the working team, executive management and management committee, as well as other members who came committed to ensuring that the deliberations were not just talks, but were practical, solutions-oriented debates.

LenkaBula noted concerns around students’ needs and how they interact with the university. She touched on modalities of engagement, proposing a geospatial approach towards helping students, and appealing to attendees to help students who fall behind.

"It is also my wish that we do not use analytics just for the sake of using analytics," she continued, "but that they inform our decision systems." She made reference to students supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which, she said, stood at 178 000 over the past year. "This," she said, "is a strong revelation that we cannot gloss over."

Going global

Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, reviewed the crucial issues discussed during the intensive two-day event, noting challenges, opportunities and achievements.

The VC also touched on the institution’s internationalisation efforts, stating that there are multiple opportunities for both students and staff that were created through collaborations and partnerships with other universities in order to expand the university’s global footprint, and that these opportunities should be taken up.

She continued: "How do we create access and how do we expand? South Africa never had the opportunity to interface globally except for the advocacy against apartheid. We need to unlock these barriers so that our staff and students think global and not just local."

The VC added that the ideas around exposure, international placement and strengthening the university’s teacher practice are now quite urgent practices.

"The questions of languages in teaching and learning, research and the language of dignity, as part of constitutive elements for strengthening our research as we do our teaching and engaged scholarship, are even more imminent that we could imagine," she continued, "and the question around language policies and how we resource language is quite important."

In conclusion, the VC thanked the members who attended the Lekgotla for their inputs and efforts aimed at invigorating Unisa’s 150th anniversary vision.


* By Godfrey Madibane, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement. 

** Photographs by Shooheima Champion, Multimedia Centre

Publish date: 2023/03/17

Unisa Shop