Universities support the government's drive to provide high quality education
The University of Venda, through its Department of Communications and Marketing
hosted for the first time the 2012
National Congress and Annual General Meeting for Careers Exhibitions and Information
Association of South Africa. The Congress which was attended by delegates from
Universities, Universities of Technology, Government Departments, semi-Governmental
institutions and private institutions took place at The Ranch Hotel Polokwane
in Limpopo Province on 24-26 October 2012. The congress brought together a rich
diversity of presenters and
participants whose presentations focused on the theme “Education and Skills
Development in Southern Africa.”
The Congress was officially opened by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic
Division, University of Venda, Prof Xikombiso Mbhenyane. When welcoming the
delegates Prof Mbhenyane indicated that “2012 is an important year in
the history of the University of Venda as it marks 30 years of our existence
as a tertiary
institution. Prof Mbhenyane indicated that the University saw it befitting that
„?we honour those leaders who had the vision to establish UNIVEN which
has over the years not only greatly influenced the socio economic development
of our region but also produced great alumni who hold positions of influence
in many spheres of both government and the private sector.” She commended
CEIA under the leadership of President Steve Kekana for playing a vital role
in sharing career information with prospective students and learners through
career exhibitions that take place throughout the year countrywide which at
the end help learners to be able to make informed career decisions.
Institutions of higher learning support the government’s drive to provide
a high quality education for increasing the number of graduates who are empowered
to address the needs of the country’s economy. However, the challenge
remains the ability to attract better prepared and best performing learners.
The other challenges facing institutions of higher learning today are to reduce
undergraduate drop-out rates and increase through-put rates as those who stay
within academic programmes are very few.
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the North West University, Dr Theuns Eloff
was one of the speakers during the congress. His presentation was on “Challenges
of walk-ins in Higher Education Institutions”. In his presentation Dr
Eloff emphasised turn-around time which is a serious problem to most of the
universities when it comes to applications. “All institutions of higher
learning need good governance and management,” said Dr Eloff. He further
maintained that critical skills in literacy and numeracy as well as a number
of school leavers with Mathematics keep on declining.
Dr Eloff asserted that there is too much expectations created by officials
and politicians of unlimited access, no barriers as regards meeting prerequisites,
free education and all these become a dilemma in South African education.
Higher education has been caught in a "perfect storm." Institutions
are tightening their belts and scrambling to keep their doors open to students
from all walks of life. Yet even and especially in these challenging times,
it is our collective responsibility to be agents of change for social and economic
justice. If we want our students to succeed, we cannot just consider academic
preparation and intellectual abilities. However, we have to consider and support
the whole student and that includes identity, family background, and related
issues of social and economic justice.
Other speakers include Mr Wessels of Tshwane University of Technology, Mr George
Van der Ross, CEO of CAO, Dr Jabu Nukeri of SAASTA, Mr Nephawe, General Manager:
Provincial HRD Strategy, Ms Mahlako Phasha of Waterberg FET college, Mr Moeketsi
Letseka of Unisa and Mr Cele of NSFAS.
The congress was followed by a Gala dinner where in Dr John Maloma, Director
of Communications and Marketing, North West University was the guest speaker.
He gave a powerful motivational talk in which he advised delegates not to be
driven by their past as “those who hurt you in the past cannot continue
to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment,”
During the gala dinner institutions were given recognition awards for their
participation in various career exhibitions throughout the year. Veterans? awards
which are bestowed to distinguished individuals for having served the association
for a long time, were awarded to Ms Yvonne Kekana of Wits and Mr Jonh Thulo
of Central University of Technology.
The core business of the CEIA is to provide comprehensive career information
through inter active communication. Learners and students at exhibitions in
rural and urban areas of South Africa and in neighbouring states are guided
towards making informed career choices at institutions of their own choice.
CEIA’s vision is to increase student numbers in Further Education and
Training Colleges (FET's) and the Higher Education Institutions (HE) by providing
quality career information that will contribute to human capital development
for a meaningful role in society.