Higher Education, Science, and Innovation minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande, has engaged stakeholders on a plan to re-establish the former Giyani College of Education to become a campus of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
The minister together with Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, vice-chancellor, and principal, Tshwane University of Technology, visited Giyani College of Education on Friday, September 16 to lay out their plan.
According to the minister, this plan is at an advanced stage and R2,5 million has been set aside to investigate the feasibility of the project. “Our plan is to have the campus operating in 2024. By February when the academic year begins, the Giyani campus must be accepting students.
“We have made it our obligation to bring education to our rural areas, and by doing so we must also bring universities to rural areas. Innovation should not only be in the urban areas but also in the rural areas. All stakeholders will work together in making this innovation a success. It is set to start operating in February 2024 at the Tshwane University of Technology, Giyani Campus. We are not here to close anything but to open opportunities for the people of Giyani,” he said.
He has put emphasis on an all-inclusive project steering committee that will work with the department and TUT in driving this big project. For at least two decades, Giyani and surrounding communities have made various representations to the Department of Higher Education requesting that a university campus be established in or near Giyani. More recently, the Limpopo-based Khatsani Educational Initiative, the Rixaka Heritage Forum, and Royal Leaders Unity (RLU) jointly approached TUT about establishing a distant campus on the premises of the former Giyani College of Education.
Following the feasibility studies conducted, the facilities of the former Giyani College of Education have been confirmed as a site to establish a TUT campus. The facilities have not been used for educational purposes since the college’s closure in 2003. The Giyani Campus presents a unique opportunity for students from high schools in the Mopani District and beyond, as the envisaged campus will focus particularly on digital agriculture offerings and science education.
“The establishment of a university campus in this region will go down in history as one of the greatest interventions of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, at this time. We will bring to the table the depth of expertise and knowledge that is resident in our seven faculties boasting several specialist research chairs, technology stations, centres, and institutes – the flagship of which is the Institute for the Future of Work,” said Maluleke.
He said that TUT will bring to the Giyani Campus its trademark passion for the production of future-ready graduates and its provision of offerings and qualifications that enable students not only to be entrepreneurial but also to be ready for future work. The following programmes and qualifications are proposed for the Giyani Campus: BEd Honours, Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching, Diploma in Animal Sciences, Diploma in Crop Production, Diploma in Geology, Diploma in Horticulture, and Diploma in Landscape Technology.
“We understand that there is a need for a phased approach, which will take several years in the execution of this undertaking. We also understand that there are several statutory and legislative protocols that must be followed before the Giyani Campus can become a delivery site for academic offerings. Above all, we understand how the academic project must take centre stage, from the beginning to the end of the project. All these notwithstanding, TUT is ready to assist to empower the people of this beautiful region,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Greater Giyani Municipality (GGM), Thandi Zitha, expressed her gratitude to all those behind the project saying it will completely change the face and look of the municipality both economically and socially. Also in attendance were various stakeholders including business, and community-based structures as well as representatives of councils from both Mopani District Municipality and GGM. The mayor particularly thanked the Khatsani Education Initiative Forum led by Dr. Ndhambhi for successfully pursuing a dream to revitalise Giyani College for better use.