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Unisa promotes globally recognised engineering qualifications

Unisa’s engineering disciplines were recently placed in joint first place in South Africa by the globally respected and widely referenced Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. To ensure the quality of its programme offerings, Unisa’s School of Engineering works with advisory boards that constitute of members from industry, other institutions of higher learning and accreditation bodies such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions, and Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Prof Rendani Maladzhi, Acting Director of the School of Engineering

The school is housed under the institution’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology. It has a dedicated communication and marketing team that shares all developments in various departments within the college. Professor Rendani Maladzhi, Acting Director of the School of Engineering, explains: “Through various means such as social media, the team keeps our current and prospective engineering students informed about teaching and learning, research, and engaged scholarship matters that take place at the college.”

Recently, the team embarked on a drive to create awareness through, among others, virtual lab tours about the possibilities and opportunities of studying engineering qualifications at an open distance learning (ODL) institution like Unisa.

Added advantage for students

Unisa students are taught by highly qualified academics and assessed through credible processes to enhance quality assessments. In addition, the School of Engineering ensures that students can engage with the content thoroughly and are continuously evaluated.

“Our teaching activities are guided by ECSA graduate attributes, which are tested in various modules to ensure that our students are competent in various areas such as problem-solving,  application of scientific and engineering knowledge, engineering design, investigations, and experiments and data analysis,” says Maladzhi.  “Also,” he continues, “we ensure that they are competent in, among others, information technology, professional and technical communication, sustainability and impact of engineering activity, and individual, team and multidisciplinary working which include independent learning, engineering professionalism, engineering management and workplace practices.”

CSET also announced that it has phased out all B-Tech qualifications and will be offered for the last time in 2022. In addition, national diploma qualifications will be offered for the last time in 2023. New diplomas, advanced diplomas, BEng Tech Honours, Master in Engineering and PhD in Engineering will replace these qualifications. 

Unisa Chemical Engineering Laboratories
Unisa Mechanical Engineering Laboratories

Collaborations and showcasing engineering competence

The School of Engineering participated in a prestigious competition, the Sasol Solar Car Challenge. The project was a work-integrated learning initiative funded by Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority for engineering students who could not find placement in the industry. For this competition, students had to invent solar cars to be driven from Johannesburg to Cape Town for the first time. The Unisa undergraduate student team, UniChamps’ invention, endured until the end, gaining them a trophy.  

“Additionally,” remarks Maladzhi, “the university’s chemical engineering undergraduate students produced and brewed four graft beers for participation at the 2022’s Intervarsity Brewing Competition held towards the end of October.” He continues: “These beers were brewed at the university’s laboratory according to beer standards using the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Programme Style Guidelines. The products were judged by local and international judges and provided students with valuable comments and experience.”

Currently, the school enjoys relations with the South African Post Office, where students are offered opportunities to do their work integrated learning and research project. Also, the school recently joined forces with Ekurhuleni West TVET College for skills transfer and other related projects.

According to Maladzhi, “These achievements and collaborations cannot be taken for granted and demonstrate that the school is well represented based on what we do.” He concludes: “We believe that people will begin to understand that studying engineering at an ODL institution is doable.”

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/11/21