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In an effort to strengthen their partnership, the University of Venda (Univen) and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA) successfully hosted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Implementation Plan meeting on 22 June 2017 in the University Council Chambers. This was after MerSETA sponsored Univen projects to the value of R8.5 Million.

Prof Peter Mbati says Univen needs partners to assist the University to bridge the gap that still exists.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati, appreciated the funding from MerSETA. “We are very happy that MerSETA made funding available to our University. Our University depends a lot on good partnerships to get it to really drive its developmental agenda. We need partners to assist us to bridge the gap that still exists in terms of resourcing,” he said.
He further added that the funding will strengthen the skills development objectives of the University. “We have introduced a number of new programmes as part of our curriculum transformation. We are in the process of training chartered accountants and also venturing into engineering,” he said.

“This funding will help us to train the next generation of academics and postgraduate students particularly in the engineering field. It will also greatly enhance the Vuwani Science Resource Centre activities.”

He also promised MerSETA that the University will utilise the funding in a good manner and account to the last cent.

Mr Patrick Rachidi explaining the way R8.5 Million will be distributed among beneficiaries.

The Head of Organisational Development and Training, Mr Patrick Rachidi said that the first ever funding received in 2015 from MerSETA was around R1.5 million. “This increased funding demonstrates that MerSETA trusts our ability to successfully implement our projects,” he said.

From the R8.5 million, the Warwick students project will receive R807 000. Twenty Univen postgraduate students who will be trained for a period of three years to become fully-fleshed engineers, will receive R3.6 million. Ten Master’s students pursuing engineering related fields will receive funding totalling R2 million over two years while the Vuwani Science Resource Centre will receive R2 million.

Dr Joseph Kirui says Vuwani Science Centre hosts career exhibitions to encourage high school learners to take up careers in maths and science.

“We really appreciate the support from MerSETA for the Vuwani Science Resource Centre”. Those were the words of appreciation from the Senior lecturer in the Department of Physics under the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Dr Joseph Kirui.

He explained the role of the Vuwani Science Centre in engaging with communities around Vuwani. “The centre also hosts career exhibitions to encourage high school learners to take up careers in maths and science,” he added.

More than 20 000 learners are benefiting from the centre annually. “We assist the learners with laboratory experiments while providing refresher training for maths and science teachers” he said.
“Without partners, we would have not realised what we see at the centre. We highly appreciate MerSETA’s support.”

With this funding, we will be able to train more Maths and Science teachers – Prof Vhonani Netshandama.

The Director Community Engagement, Prof Vhonani Netshandama was delighted with the funding. She said that a lot will be achieved through the funding. “Together we can do more. With this funding we will be able to train more teachers in maths and science simplifying some critical issues for them,” she added.
She further said that in 2013 they were able to get funding from other donors and they trained more than 150 maths and science teachers in improving the teaching of those subjects.

The University strives to improve the quality of the students who enrol at Univen.

“You are investing funding in a model of skills training and skills enhancement that is operating very well. There is synergy between the funding for Vuwani Science Resource Centre and the skills training of teachers,” said the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford. He also said that the University strives to improve the quality of the students that comes to Univen as a means to improve our own throughput and graduation rates.

“Your support will allow us to enhance the model. We really appreciate your support”.

Ms Semodi Monareng appreciated Univen for involving the surrounding communities in their projects.

MerSETA Client Relations Manager in Mpumalanga and Limpopo offices, Ms Semodi Monareng, appreciated the overview of the projects that were highlighted in the meeting.
She also acknowledged the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic’s presence. “Your presence shows that this project is important to you,” she said.

She further highlighted that a Memorandum of Agreement should be developed in order to actualise the signed Memorandum of Understanding. “You must also invite us during National Science week and other activities geared at community development. We really appreciate Univen for involving the surrounding communities in their projects,” she added.

“Having proactive social partners helps us to know more from the other side of the world. She indicated that the implementation plan which must be submitted by the 14 July 2017 should outline the costs, timelines as well as precise outcomes for each of the line items in each individual project.

MerSETA and Univen delegations pose for a photo after MOU Implementation plan meeting.

Issued by: Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 26 June 2017

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