169 enrolments in 2014 to 1160 in 2016
Mbombela, Mpumalanga, 5 October 2015 – Today, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana, MP, visited the University of Mpumalanga (UMP) to monitor construction progress.
In February 2014, the university opened its doors in existing buildings, some of which have been extensively refurbished, with an initial enrolment of 169 learners. The Deputy Minister received a full briefing on the establishment and development of the construction project to date. Some of the highlights are:
- The UMP has a full Council and permanent Vice-Chancellor. Professor Thoko Mayekiso was appointed Vice-Chancellor of UMP on 1 November 2014. SPU has also appointed its executive management team.
- The first phase upgrades and renovations of the existing facilities were done for the modest enrolments of 2014. These included refurbishment of teaching venues, student resources (library), offices for university staff members, student residences, and procurement of new furniture and teaching equipment. Further upgrade of the existing facilities took place during 2014 for the increased enrolment in the 2015 academic year.
- In 2014, the first undergraduate students of UMP enrolled in three qualifications, a Diploma in Hospitality Management; the Bachelor of Agriculture in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Development; and the Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching (Siyabuswa).
- In 2015, UMP launched a new qualification, the Diploma in Information Communication Technology, in Applications Development, and enrolled its first students into the Diploma in Agriculture in Plant Production that had previously been offered by the Lowveld College of Agriculture.
- In 2015 UMP enrolled 864 students across its campuses in Mbombela and Siyabuswa.
- From October 2014 the first phase of the major new construction started. Three new multi-storey buildings are currently under construction, and will be ready for occupation early in 2016. These new buildings, will enable an enrolment of 1 160 at UMP in the 2016 academic year.
- At UMP the facilities at Mbombela currently under construction include three buildings which will be ready for use in January 2016: students residence building to accommodate 240 students, including common amenities and study spaces; a multi-purpose building with large raked auditorium (250 seater), offices, seminar spaces and lecture venues; a science building with four state of the art science laboratoriums, multiple lecture venues (eight venues), auditorium (250 seater), offices, library, IT Centre and a student canteen. The new science building can accommodate in excess of 1 300 students and will act as a mini-campus.
- On the Siyabuswa campus the developments include extensive renovation undertaken in 2013 and 2014 of existing teaching facilities, six student residence buildings (accommodating 312 students), a student centre with gym, canteen and games room, and a sports field. Currently nearing completion is the construction of a new student residence comprising 100 beds, complete with common rooms and shared amenities, and 8 staff apartments.
- The next phase of infrastructure development which will begin towards the end of this year will enable enrolments at UMP to increase to 1 550 students (500 at Siyabuswa and 1 050 at Mbombela) in the 2017 academic year.
- At UMP Mbombela Campus the second phase of new buildings will include the: Executive Offices Building at the entrance to the main campus with meeting rooms and university council chamber; a library and student resource centre (fig.5); IT laboratory building with 3 ICT teaching labs; and a multi-purpose building with student residences (150 beds), student centre, health and wellness facilities, and a 1 000 seater multi-purpose hall. The construction of these four buildings is targeted for completion by December 2016. At the UMP Siyabuswa Campus a further 100 bed student residence building is going into construction, also to be completed in time for the 2017 academic year.
- The Construction Development Targets (CDT) were established with the view to impart skills and enable access to the workplace by creating jobs and ensuring that local suppliers, labour and subcontractors benefit from this construction project. The New University Project Management Team is working with the appointed contractors to ensure that the CDT targets are achieved as the project progresses.
- As part of the CDT, the contractors have employed young professionals and students to work on the project. This process affords the opportunity for the students and professionals to gain work exposure and practical work experience which will further assist them in obtaining their qualifications and increase their likelihood of employment in the construction industry.
- The Department of Higher Education and Training has provided a total of R1.32 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to finance the current construction underway at both universities for the 2016 and 2017 academic expansion. A further R1.05 billion will be made available in the 2016/17 financial year and R1.1 billion in the 2017/18 financial year to fund Phase three of the planned new building and infrastructure development.
- Over the past three years the DHET has been directly managing the development of the new infrastructure with the assistance of a Project Management Team based at the University of the Witwatersrand and in partnership with the two new universities.
- The two universities are developing their own capacity to take over the management of their infrastructure development from March 2016 onwards. The Minister has recently approved the release of R183 million for the current programme directly to the two universities (R100 million for UMP) as they prepare to take over the management of planned infrastructure development for the 2017 academic year and beyond.
The Deputy Minister said ‘over the next ten to fifteen years UMP will grow to provide capacity for 18 000 contact students. Growth in student numbers will match the phased development of infrastructure for the institution over time. The range of programmes offered by the university will also extend in accordance with a planned Programme and Qualification Mix as capacity is developed over time’.
‘It’s all systems go, I am impressed with the progress made so far, we applaud all the role-players that have made it possible for the project to be delivered as planned with minimal glitches’, concluded the Deputy Minister.
Issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training.