Vuwani Science Resource Centre is among the first 13 science centres accredited by the Department of Science and Innovation. There are about 36 science centres in South Africa and the accreditation process is continuing. The process is voluntarily, and Vuwani Science Resource Centre has undergone this voluntary process of accreditation on the South African Network of Science Centres (SANSC) Online Platform, which has been initiated by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The process is administered through the South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) which is a business unit of the National Research
Foundation (NRF). Its mandate is to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering, innovation, and technology in South Africa.
Vuwani Science Resource Centre successful completed the three stages process of the Self-Evaluation , Peer Evaluation Stage and Accreditation Committee Evaluation Stage and finally the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) officially accredited the Science Centre a Level 2 status.
According to Dr Eric Maluta, Coordinator of the Vuwani Science Resource Centre, the journey started towards the end of the year 2018 when DSI invited all the science centres to voluntarily join the network. Vuwani Science Resource Centre then started its journey from November 2018 for the self-evaluation. The Vuwani Science Centre team comprising of Mr. Samphie Mathebe, Dr. Sophie Mulaudzi, SAASTA Volunteers and NRF interns led by Dr Maluta, started working on the documents needed and they managed to complete the self-evaluation process.
The peer evaluation team visited Vuwani Science Resource Centre from Monday 25, March until Wednesday 27 March 2019. The team was led by South African Agency of Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA).
SAASTA, NRF, DST and UNIVEN staff members during a round table discussion of peer evaluation process. (supplied photo taken in 2019 before COVID-19)
The team was represented by Mr Jabulani Mathebula (SAASTA/NRF and DST, Committee Secretariat), Mr Thami Mpholeka (Chair of the Committee, Mr Bushy Moabelo (Committee Member) and Ms Tracy Singo (Committee Member). The team had a discussion with the then Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof Natasha Potgieter and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford as the two senior/executive managers of Vuwani Science Resource Centre. There was a round table discussion about strategies of sustainability of the science centre.
The final accreditation stage was done by the accreditation committee which made recommendations to the DSI for final amendment and Vuwani Science Resource Centre was awarded level 2 on the Network of the Science Centres in South Africa. The centres are accredited from level one to three, where level zero comes only if the centre does not show any potential. As the centre, we hope that through our hard work, diligence, and several consultations with the other science centres , we will reach level 3 as soon as we deal with all recommendation from DSI.
The status currently gives Vuwani Science Resource Centre to be part of the National Network of Science Centres in South Africa. The centre is now allowed to apply for grant from DSI/ SAASTA support and participate in the DSI activities like National Science Week, Science Festival, etc.
The centre would like to extends its gratitude to UNIVEN management and to appreciate the support from different University departments, the department of Physics, the former School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences colleagues and the Dean.
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Date: 04 August 2021