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“It is very painful and stressing to see learners who have passed matric with bachelor with only 22 points, and such learners tend to complain that the university does not want to accept them”. The reason why some students were not accepted is that, they did not pass matric with enough marks. To have a bachelor’s pass which is a university entrance is not enough. That person does not even qualify to enroll in any foundation programme at any university in this world. “20 percent pass mark has never and will never qualify anyone to study at a university,” said the University of Venda (Univen) SRC President, Mandla Shikwambana during the Official Opening of Orientation on Monday, 23 January 2017.

SRC President, Mr Mandla Shikwambana

Shikwambana told the audience at the hall which was filled beyond its capacity, that when they visit their respective homes during recess, they must advice their brothers and sisters who are still doing matric to go an extra mile when studying so that they could pass grade 12 with at least 50 percent because that might help them to enroll at universities. “Please meet the minimum requirement because that is the passport to the university. If you meet the requirements, then we will be able to assist you but that doesn’t mean you will be on
the programme of your choice because every degree has its required points of entry,” he stressed.

He also appreciated first year students for choosing Univen. “There were many universities but you chose Univen where you are guaranteed your qualifications if you study hard”. He advised the first year students to make Univen a home away from home. “Do not compare yourselves with students from other universities; know your struggle and why you are here”. I plead with you to focus on your studies because that is what you are here for,” emphasized the SRC President who also appreciated Univen management for making students its first priority.

Above: Students singing and dancing before the SRC President speaks

Shikwambana encouraged students who do not have good financial background to apply for financial assistance at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). “I would like to believe that majority of you seated here have submitted your applications to NSFAS because when only few students apply you give NSFAS officials the impression that majority of Univen students do not need financial aid yet most of you still need it. If you do not apply and come to us complaining about funding your studies, you will be making it difficult for us to win the battle for you. Submit your application to make it easy for us to win the battle for you”, he said.
Shikwambana welcomed all students and encouraged them to attend their classes from the first day of commencement because that is their reason for being here. “Let education be your number one priority,” he concluded.
Advocate Edward Lambani, Director Legal Services in his address discouraged students from cheating in tests and examinations. He guided the first year students through the academic integrity code which when broken, is punishable. Lambani has further advised students that “Univen do not recycle problems because we are a united South Africa universities. If you are caught cheating here at Univen, we will make sure that we suspend you for a minimum period of six months depending on the type of crime that you have committed and we will make sure that you do not register at any university in this country,” said Adv. Lambani.

Above: The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Jan Crafford

In his official opening address, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Jan Crafford thanked the first year students for trusting Univen and making it part of their big step of a lifetime, that is, making a transition from high school to a university. “This is a place where we encourage diversity of both cultures and points of views.” He further said that Univen has been doing well in the past ten years and is still doing well even today. “Ten years ago we were producing two or three PhDs but last year alone we produced 29 PhD graduates, a new record for this University”, remarked Crafford. Professor Crafford stressed that Univen offers only qualifications that are properly approved, registered and accredited by not only the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) but by also professional bodies involved in the accreditation of courses.

“Today we are proud to be part of this University because of its massive transformation, hence you should also make your first experience at Univen, the one to remember for the rest of your life. You should be able to distinguish between schooling and education. Never let schooling interfere with your education. Schooling is about you being taught in class and education is about what you learn on your own. Education is about learning not cramming for the sake of passing the tests. Make sure that you are educated by the time you leave this University because that will guarantee you a survival in the corporate world and in life,” he concluded.

“Univen strictly says no to Xenophobia. We encourage everyone to treat others the way they want to be treated regardless of where they come from,” said Mr Cornelius Hagenmeier, Director International Relations.

The Finance Manager : Income, Mr Benji Ngobeni advised first entering students that if there is anything that they don’t understand about financial matters, his office is always open to assist them. Mr Levy Ndou, President of Convocation advised the new students about the role and importance of alumni for the University. “We have established chapters for different schools from former Univen students who assist current students in different fields of study about career development”. Mr Ndou also told new students about the University Alumni newsletter which informs all stakeholders about what is happening within these chapters.

The Acting Director Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL), Dr Nancy Mutshaeni said, CHETL is ready and happy to receive students with disability. “Just come to us and disclose the kind of disability to enable us to know where and how we can assist you at our level best,” she emphasized. She also highlighted the services rendered within the Centre.

The Director Institute for Rural Development, Prof Joseph Francis representing the Community Engagement Directorate, highlighted the activities rendered within the Directorate. He further urged the first entering students to participate in the community engagement activities before they leave or finish their degrees. The importance of participating in community engagement activities assist to develop critical thinking skills and gaining experience. Their participation in the community activities will assist them when they join the corporate world.

Representing Student Affairs, Mr Luthando Charlie, Head of Student Accommodation advised new students on how to interact with the office and make use of the SRC office as it is there to cater their needs.

Senior Professor Base Khoza, Dean of the School of Health Sciences who advised students to take every speaker seriously as they know what they are talking about, welcomed the audience while Professor Mokgale Makgopa, Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences proposed a vote of thanks.

Issued by: Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 25 January 2017

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