Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s new vice-chancellor is ready to ring in the changes and wants the institution to produce graduates who understand the challenges facing South Africa.
Dr Prins Nevhutalu was installed as vice-chancellor on Saturday and replaces Professor Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, who retired at the end of last year.
Nevhutalu said his vision was to ensure that CPUT graduates were empathetic people who put “people before profit” and cared about the planet.
In order to achieve these goals, a five-year curriculum redesign project would be introduced.
“Some of the things we teach now are things that were developed in the 1980s. We know that in the 1980s education was not meant for this new democratic dispensation,” Nevhutalu said.
In a country “plagued with corruption” there was no reason why every CPUT graduate should not have attended at least one course in ethics. Providing a quality service to students would also be a point of focus for the new vice-chancellor.
“There will be major training and organisational development. The first will be on customer service. Staff members are already being trained on customer service.”
An award for staff members who went beyond the call of duty would be introduced. Nevhutalu said staff would also receive training on how to save energy.
“We waste a lot of energy, lights burn the whole night and aircons are left on.”
Asked what the university would do to improve its relationship with students and possibly prevent protests, he said he had made himself “available to engage with students”.
“I’ve opened my cellphone and my e-mail and I’ve said ‘if you have a problem please let me know’.”
He said this also applied to staff members and parents.
Monthly meetings with the student representative council would be held. Nevhutalu said he was also trying to gain an understanding of where the university’s students were coming from.
“I will make an appointment to visit each and every school that has more than 20 students on our campus to engage with the principal and teachers and see how we can assist them. I will also give an opportunity to those principals to come here and get an understanding of the university.”
Nevhutalu started his career in 1980 as a lecturer at the University of the North’s department of medical sciences.
He previously worked as a deputy vice-chancellor at Tshwane University of Technology and at the University of Zululand. - Cape Argus