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PODCAST | EDU STATE: TUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Tinick Maluleke’s reflections on 2022 – SABC News

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Edu State is the SABC’s digital news service focusing on the state of education in South Africa. In this episode, TUT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tinika Maluleke reflects on 2022.

The Tshwane University of Technology is among the top 15 universities of science, technology and engineering in South Africa. This follows from the latest ranking of Times Higher Education. The global ranking provides a list of the top-performing universities around the world with a focus on research. The ranking of universities takes into account factors such as teaching, research, citations, income from industry and global outlook.

Prof Maluleke says although the institution was reluctant to participate in the ranking, he is pleased with the results.

“In the academic world, the gold standard is peer review, so these rankings are based on peer review. In other words, people who really understand the business you operate in, who therefore use their knowledge of your industry to determine how you compare to similar institutions in your country, but most importantly , in the world. In this sense, ratings matter, and what they say becomes important. Of course, these international rankings are not the be-all and end-all of what universities are for. We exist as universities for more mundane reasons, to produce skills, to produce educated citizens. But we cannot ignore rankings to the extent that they are the opinion of our peers about what they think about the quality of our research, the quality of our teaching and learning and the quality of our teaching of individual subjects.’

The skills SA economy needs

South Africa has a history of structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills needed by the economy and those possessed by the workforce. The unemployment rate currently stands at 33.9% with youth unemployment at 46.5%.

According to Professor Maluleke, TUT is giving its students the tools they need to bridge the skills gap in the labor market.

“I think you have to consider that in terms of Times Higher Education, there are 15 top universities in this country that are creating the kind of skills that the economy needs, that is, skills in engineering, physical sciences, ICT and so on. . TUT is one of these 15 and TUT is the only university of technology among these 15. What does this mean? This means that TUT is doing something right in terms of what the economy and the skills market needs. We are already working in the relevant fields and we call ourselves a university where knowledge works, and by that we mean that we are deliberately producing graduates who are ready to work in the future.’

The impact of the coronavirus on learning and teaching

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic led to disruptions in teaching and learning, universities were forced to stop contact classes. The pandemic has so far claimed more than 100,000 lives in South Africa. However, in any crisis there are opportunities.

“The main lesson we have learned is that the hybrid mode of delivery is likely to be with us for a long time, if not the foreseeable future, in other words, no university in the world will continue to teach in just one mode. That is, you can’t teach face-to-face, obviously, because COVID-19 has made contact impossible not only between students and their teachers, but also between students and students. Therefore, the contact mode of teaching in itself will no longer be sufficient. You see universities all over the world, including TUT, developing dynamic modes of teaching that change from time to time to blended multimodal forms of teaching where you have podcasting, online teaching that is interactive, even the use of social media , with which we can create groups, classes to meet in social networks. We also learned about inequality because once we had to go online, it became clear which students wouldn’t be able to have the data, sometimes not even because they don’t have the data after the university provided the data, if you’re from a village where the network is very bad, can have enough data, but you are not going to connect, so we were also exposed in this way as a country. “

Excessive demand for student funding

At a higher education sector stakeholder briefing in October, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) continued to be shortchanged as a result of high demand for student funding. He added that despite​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​a, challenges, funding for NSFAS has increased from 5.9 billion rand in 2014 to 49 billion rand in 2022.

“TUT is probably the largest consumer of NSFAS funds in the country. I doubt there is any university that receives as much NSFAS funding as TUT. Last time I checked, up to 60% of our students are funded by NSFAS. This means we are grateful to both the Government and NSFAS, and also concerned as an institution because our students depend on the funding. Fortunately, NSFAS has been giving more and more money to students over the years, especially since 2016.”

Highlights and failures of 2022

South Africans celebrated in July when the Banyana Banyana women’s football team won the African Women’s Cup of Nations title. The stars in the winning team included several former TUT students. Professor Maluleke also shares some highlights of 2022.

“The Banyana Banyana team that won the African Cup had four TUT players including the goalscorer, the winning goal was scored by a former TUT player. It’s also important to note that at the Commonwealth Games in England there was a TUT student who won gold in squash, he’s from Zambia, which also speaks to the number of international students we have, and of course we won the university cup our the men’s team won the university cup. The last thing I want to mention is the solar car that TUT has been building since 2014; we named this solar car the Sun Chaser. It’s an award-winning solar car.”

10 months in office

Professor Maluleke took over as TUT Vice-Chancellor in February. He has extensive experience in higher education, two decades of which have been in senior management.

He says he is honored to serve his country in this way.

“Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in high school. I have served as Vice-Chancellor, Dean, Executive Director of Research and Deputy Registrar, and for some time I have managed the University. I think it’s a natural progression that if someone has contributed at that level, they’re more likely to become Vice-Chancellor than not. Being the Vice-Chancellor is a humbling position, it is indeed a position of humility and service to one’s country, but also an opportunity to give back to a generation of young South Africans in a way that few South Africans have the opportunity to do. Every time I do a graduation (ceremony) and I look at all these young people, with stars in their eyes, looking forward to a new career, having just graduated, it gives me great pleasure and a pleasure to contribute in this regard.”

Below is the full interview with Professor Maluleke:

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