Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande will host the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP), which aims to transform teaching, learning and research in public universities, leading to improved quality, success, and equity.
Nzimande inaugurated the programme in 2015 during the 2nd National Higher Education Summit, titled Transforming Higher Education for a Transformed South Africa in a 21st Century World.
According to ministry spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi, a key emphasis of the UCDP is the development of staff at South African universities through a structured programme called Staffing South African Universities’ Framework (SSAUF).
He said the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) is one of the department's major staff development initiatives executed as part of SSAUF under the UCDP.
“The nGAP is implemented in partnership with all 26 public universities and involves the recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics, against carefully designed and balanced equity considerations and disciplinary areas of greatest need.”
“The most important feature of the programme is that scholars are appointed to permanent posts firmly rooted in long-term staffing plans right from the outset. The programme covers a six-year period for each cohort or phase taken on, covering a three-year development programme plus three years of induction thereafter.
“Participants who entered the programme in the years 2015 and 2016 have since completed their six years in the programme and have attained their PhDs, with some even becoming associate professors.”
Mnisi added that to mark the successful completion of the cohorts of the first two phases of the programme, Nzimande will hold a two-day colloquium on April 13 at the Emperors Palace Hotel (OR Tambo International Airport) to celebrate this milestone.
“The minister will afford an opportunity for the successful participants to share research findings from their respective dissertations or research papers, as well as their experiences and lessons learnt during their journey in the programme,” Mnisi said.