Feasibility studies are underway for a new University of Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni, as well as a new Crime Detection University in Hamanskraal.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, said his department’s plans to build two new universities are now underway following Cabinet approval.

He said the process of developing a new university is preceded by a feasibility study to ascertain the demand for new institutions in specific areas or areas of interest.

“A feasibility study is being carried out, funded by the Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant (IEG) worth 6 million rand, to advise on the size and shape of these two facilities,” he said.

The new University of Science and Innovation is expected to focus specifically on science and innovation subjects, including STEM subjects such as:

  • Data Science;
  • Machine learning;
  • Artificial intelligence;
  • blockchain;
  • Robotics;
  • Hydrogen technologies such as smart transport and logistics systems.

The new Crime Detection University in Hammanskraal aims to detect and fight crime. It is intended to improve the quality of SAPS general and specialized research.

Earlier this year (April 2022), a steering committee was established to conduct a feasibility study. The department said the committee is made up of representatives from city authorities, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the National Research Foundation and major universities.

More colleges and renovations

Nzimande said in relation to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, the department is in the process of establishing new colleges or college campuses – similar to those established for universities.

Nzimande went on to list 16 TPET developments and infrastructure renovations that are being implemented across the country.

  • TVET UMgungundlovu College Msinga Campus in Kwaka
  • Umgungundlovu College Campus in Greytown
  • Esaidi TPE College Umzimkhulu Campus Umzimkhulu
  • Umfolozi TVET College Bhambanana Campus at Bhambanana
  • Nkandla Umfolozi TVET College Campus in Nkandla town
  • Umfolozi TVET College Nkandla B Campus in Nkumgamate
  • Mthashana TVET College Vryheid Engineering Campus in Vryheid
  • Mthashana TVET College Nongoma Campus in Nongoma
  • TVET Mthashana College Kwagqikasi Campus in Nongoma
  • Letaba TVET College campus in Giani
  • Hertha Sibande College campus in Balfour
  • Aliwal TVET North Campus of Ikhala College at Aliwal North
  • Sterkspruit TVET Campus Ihala College in Sterkspruit
  • TVET Ingwe College Ngqungqushe Campus in Lusikisiki
  • Graaff Reneitt Campus of East Cape Midlands at Graaff Reneit

He added that there are also plans to renovate the existing facilities in Limpopo to be attached to the Tshwane University of Technology if feasibility studies support the use of these facilities.

Lack of confidence

Major infrastructural developments in South Africa’s education sector are due to low confidence in the country’s higher education system.

A recent survey by the Professional Provision Society (PPS) found that most students do not trust the standard of higher education offered by South African universities when compared internationally.

The survey also found that 25% of graduate students felt they were underprepared for higher education, while 43% of undergraduates said they were moderately prepared.

Read: SARS sends out letters to top executives in South Africa – here’s what it says

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