Tak­ing Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity Boldly into the Fu­ture in Ser­vice of So­ci­ety

Public Sector Manager - - In Other News -

Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity is a new generation univer­sity, with cam­puses in the Eastern and South­ern Cape, that is do­ing things dif­fer­ently in striv­ing to be­come a dy­namic African univer­sity, recog­nised for its lead­er­ship in gen­er­at­ing cut­ting-edge knowl­edge for a sus­tain­able fu­ture.

On 20 July 2017, the in­sti­tu­tion proudly and for­mally launched its new name and iden­tity – be­com­ing the only univer­sity in the world to be named af­ter global icon Nel­son Man­dela. The re­nam­ing placed Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity firmly on the thresh­old of the next ex­cit­ing stage of its evo­lu­tion, in a tra­jec­tory that has its ge­n­e­sis in the in­sti­tu­tional Vi­sion 2020.

Birthed in 2010, the vi­sion and strat­egy for­mu­la­tion and ex­e­cu­tion has been and con­tin­ues to be about repo­si­tion­ing the Univer­sity in South Africa, the African con­ti­nent and the world – a repo­si­tion­ing that be­gins and ends with the reimag­in­ing of the aca­demic project.

This vi­sion en­joined Man­dela Univer­sity’s lead­er­ship to work re­lent­lessly to­wards build­ing a new generation, dy­namic African univer­sity that is recog­nised for its lead­er­ship in pro­duc­ing cut­ting-edge knowl­edge for a sus­tain­able fu­ture.

The hard work has, in re­cent years, re­sulted in Gov­ern­ment grant­ing the Univer­sity per­mis­sion to es­tab­lish the coun­try’s 10th med­i­cal school and in help­ing it es­tab­lish the coun­try’s only ded­i­cated Ocean Sciences cam­pus.

Both th­ese ini­tia­tives will go a long way in en­abling learn­ers, par­tic­u­larly from town­ship and ru­ral schools and com­mu­ni­ties, to study and gain spe­cial­ist qual­i­fi­ca­tions in ar­eas that were pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble and only dreamt about.

Th­ese two new ven­tures are set to, among other things, place the Univer­sity in a sub­stan­tially bet­ter po­si­tion to serve the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic growth needs as it works to es­tab­lish new ar­eas of knowl­edge that will in turn stim­u­late new ways of re­solv­ing life chal­lenges, and spawn new pro­fes­sions, ca­reers and job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Both th­ese ven­tures are an­chored in in­no­va­tion and trans­dis­ci­plinar­ity, which un­der­pin the Univer­sity’s work as it en­deav­ours to solve global chal­lenges such as cli­mate change, wa­ter, food and health se­cu­ri­ties as well as other en­vi­ron­men­tal

sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues by cut­ting across aca­demic si­los.

Teach­ing and learn­ing, in­te­grated with re­search and en­gage­ment, are the core busi­ness of Man­dela Univer­sity as the in­sti­tu­tion recog­nises that learn­ing is in­trin­sic to hu­man de­vel­op­ment. The Univer­sity has em­braced the phi­los­o­phy of a hu­man­is­ing ped­a­gogy as it ad­dresses, un­der­pins and ad­vances the in­sti­tu­tional pur­pose.

In line with this, the Univer­sity is work­ing to es­tab­lish Hubs of Con­ver­gence, which are phys­i­cal spa­ces where the in­sti­tu­tion meets com­mu­ni­ties to en­gage on com­mon plat­forms to find prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to prob­lems af­fect­ing the im­me­di­ate sur­round­ing ar­eas. Th­ese hubs will ben­e­fit from in­tel­lec­tual and other as­sets of the Univer­sity as well as the con­scious wis­dom of those com­mu­ni­ties.

Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity is on a jour­ney to re­think the kind of univer­sity it can, and should, be­come as an in­sti­tu­tion that must, along with oth­ers, ac­tively con­trib­ute to the res­o­lu­tion of the myr­iad of ed­u­ca­tional and de­vel­op­men­tal chal­lenges – do­ing so in line with Nel­son Man­dela’s legacy.

Nel­son Man­dela placed a good ed­u­ca­tion for all South Africans at the cen­tre of the demo­cratic project.

At the Ed­u­ca­tion Africa Pres­i­den­tial and Pre­mier Ed­u­ca­tion Awards cer­e­mony in 1997, then Pres­i­dent Man­dela said: “The power of ed­u­ca­tion ex­tends be­yond the de­vel­op­ment of skills we need for eco­nomic suc­cess. It can con­trib­ute to na­tion-build­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion … We need a sys­tem … that is geared to the real­i­ties of our coun­try and the ideals of our peo­ple.”

This call to ac­tion, there­fore, un­der­scores the Univer­sity’s long held de­sire to hon­our Man­dela’s legacy of ad­vanc­ing ed­u­ca­tion as “the most pow­er­ful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

To find out more about Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity and what it has to of­fer, visit www.man­dela.ac.za.

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