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Unisa boosts PhD acquisition in the TVET sector

Yet again giving effect to its 150th anniversary theme, Reclaiming Africa’s Intellectual Futures, Unisa recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO) to increase collaboration, cooperation and interaction in the areas of education, science and research at the country’s technical, vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.

Signing the memorandum of understanding, seated: Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (left), and Thembi Tsibogo, member of SAPCO’s executive committee. Standing, from left: Dr Meiya Nthoesane, Unisa Centre for Lifelong Learning, Prof Sello Mokoena, Unisa College of Education, Nombulelo Nxesi, CEO: ETDP SETA, and Neo Matsena, CEO: SAPCO.

SAPCO is an independent association representing all South African TVET colleges. It provides common policy positions on various issues and ensures that member colleges’ interests are well represented.

At the signing ceremony on 18 May 2023, the new partners agreed formally to focus specifically on institutional development, capacity building, and research and innovation initiatives.

Measures will be implemented as soon as possible and will include regular meetings to advance action plans.

In addition to the above, the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) has provided bursaries to 20 TVET college lecturers registered at Unisa for doctoral studies, commencing this year. These bursaries were formally awarded to the recipients at the signing ceremony. This is a great milestone for the country.

In her welcoming remarks, Prof Puleng LenkaBula, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa, noted that this partnership is critical as it will promote and facilitate the delivery of education to build communities.

Speaking of access, she said universities by nature are social institutions which must be at the core development of society through research, engaged scholarship, development of societies and intellectual resources in order to solve the problems and questions that society asks.

LenkaBula said that these institutions are meant to be the anchor and the moral compass of society. "They are beneficial for colleagues whose mission and mandate question and rethink research which excavates his/her stories of these societies," she continued.

According to LenkaBula, great scholars should partner with colleges and communities to sustain their relevance especially in the context of South Africa. "This partnership is impactful as it is aligned to the National Development Plan 2023 to ensure full support in the quest of building societies," she said.

Delivering her remarks, SAPCO representative, Mmapodi Thothela, acknowledged the role that the ETDP SETA played in funding TVET college workers and making a positive impact in society. "This partnership is profound as it comes at a time when Unisa is turning 150 years old," she said. "We are grateful to work with a giant institution that still maintains the quality of education after so many years."

The Chief Executive Officer of the ETDP SETA, Nombulelo Nxesi, shared her journey and interest in supporting TVET colleges with funding specifically for educating and reskilling educators. "Without educated resilient leadership, we cannot build communities," she said. "We need to make sure that whatever we do is not self-serving. If we provide young leaders with education and skills, then they will succeed."

The successful ceremony was facilitated and hosted by Unisa’s Directorate Internationalisation and Partnerships in the Department of Institutional Advancement.


* Compiled by the Unisa Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2023/05/24

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