“Research has shown that a university degree is a good predictor for future success in terms of employability; better pay and better quality of life. It is therefore a privilege when you are selected to study at Univen”, said the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda (Univen), Prof Peter Mbati during the official opening of the 2017 academic year which took place on Thursday, 26 January 2017 at Univen Auditorium. He told students to jealously guard the opportunities that has been granted to them and to study hard.

Above: The Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati

In his official opening address, Prof Mbati, highlighted that there is a huge demand for higher education because Univen alone received over 22 000 applications in the year 2016 and there was only 3 100 space for the first entering students. “I urge all of us to constantly remember the sacrifices that our parents and communities have made to ensure that we access higher education. Let us make them proud by successfully completing our programmes and contributing to the economic growth and development of South Africa and our communities”, advised Prof Mbati.

He welcomed the first entering students and told them that, Univen is prepared to nurture them to achieve their dreams and to become the professionals that they have always desired to be. “Univen is committed in pursuing all legitimate process to ensure that academically deserving students access funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), University merit bursaries, government sponsors and private sector organisations. We provide tablets and laptops to all our students at Univen as important learning aids. We are also rolling out e-learning facilities through the blackboard platform; again to ensure that you are trained in a highly competitive
environment”. He encouraged them to exploit the facilities and infrastructure at their disposal to become the man or woman they have always wanted to be.

Prof Mbati shared with staff, students and parents that this year, the University will complete a number of infrastructure projects which include among others, the Student residences, new staff houses, main gate, new Student centre, Student entertainment centre, Abattoir, Milking parlour, New School of Health Sciences and the second phase of the school of education. “We will also start a couple of new infrastructure projects which include the Institutional multi-denominational house of prayer; Staff recreational facility; A new multipurpose hall to be used for sports and graduation ceremonies; New building for the School of human and social sciences; and the New main administration building”, he said.

“2016 was yet another successful year for Univen. Once again we experienced positive growth on all the critical indictors reflected in our strategic plan”. Prof Mbati told Univen staff and students not only celebrate the achievements but also continue to jealously guard their gains over the past 10 years. “My promise in this 10th and final year as the Vice Chancellor is to ensure that our University continues to provide the best service to the University community and to all stakeholders and I shall continue to frown on corruption”.

He said this is a time when the University celebrates students who obtained noble achievements and congratulate them. Prof Mbati congratulated all the recipients of the Vice Chancellor Student Excellence awards. He commended the Acting Director for Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL), Dr Nancy Mutshaeni and her team for making sure that the 5th Vice Chancellor ‘s Student Academic Excellence Awards becomes a success. “To the rest, please work even harder so that next year it is you that we shall be honouring with these awards”, he concluded.

54 students from first level to third level in all the schools were awarded trophies, certificates and cash during the 5th Vice Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards. The first level students were awarded R8 000, second level R9 000 and third level R10 000. Twenty percent of the award shall be in cash with the remainder in tuition fees, books, accommodation and the student may choose based on their needs.

Ndifelani Murida

The overall winner of the 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards was Ndifelani Murida, from the School of Health Sciences.

Above: Fulufhelo Netshivhera (right) posing for a photo with Prof Peter Mbati

Among the top achievers, was Fulufhelo Netshivhera who became the best student in the School of Management Sciences Foundation regardless of her physical challenge. She has proved that irrespective of the situation you find yourself in, if you are determined to achieve your goals then everything is possible.

Above: The Acting Director: CHETL, Dr Nancy Mutshaeni

Dr Nancy Mutshaeni who presented the background of the excellence awards, highlighted that the aim of these awards is to honour and recognise significant achievements and to encourage students to aim for excellence in all that they do. “We use awards and certificates to create a good environment and inspire our students to excel in their educational and academic work. “She said this is a way of promoting the culture of learning in the schools”, she concluded.

Above: The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford

In his vote of thanks message, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford, congratulated and thanked the Vice Chancellor and the awards recipients for a job well done. He also thanked the SRC President and His cabinet encourage the students to work hard in putting this University on the spotlight with their notable achievements.

Above: St. Engenas ZCC Univen Choir entertaining the audience

Issued by:
Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525

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