A strong case for a campus

2015-01-18 15:01

It is well known that there are far too few university places available for potential students in Gauteng.

According to a recent report, 36?843 Gauteng pupils got university-entrance passes in the 2014 matric examinations.

If, say, three-quarters of these pupils wanted to go to a traditional tertiary institution like the

University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria or the University of Cape Town – and would study for the average four-year period – this would mean that 110?529 student places in Gauteng would be required.

Ekurhuleni contains about a quarter of the residents of Gauteng.

So the estimated number of traditional university student places required there would be 25% of 110?529 (that works out to 27?632).

Taking into account the character of Ekurhuleni, one would expect the ratio of university of technology students to traditional university students in the metropolitan area to be relatively high.

If one assumed it would be 0.85 times the number of university places required, this would mean places for 23?487 university of technology students.

If these two numbers were combined to arrive at an estimated student size requirement for a comprehensive university like the University of Johannesburg, one would arrive at a student number to be catered for of 51?119.

Because of Ekurhuleni’s strategic location in relation to the transportation system, one would expect a large number of students from outside Gauteng to want comprehensive university study opportunities in Ekurhuleni.

There is clearly a strong case for the rapid provision of a comprehensive university in a central location in the Boksburg-Benoni-Brakpan section of Ekurhuleni.

This should be followed fairly soon by second and third campuses in the Kempton Park-Tembisa and Alberton-Katorus areas, particularly as there is severe lack of provision for university places in Johannesburg.

There are good and well-located sites available for these campuses in the recommended four locations – large sites, largely owned by the municipality, suitable for American-type university campuses with large-scale, on-site residential accommodation for students, and good sets of sports and recreational facilities.

Ekurhuleni is the most important transportation hub in South Africa, one of the most important locations for the manufacturing industry in Africa and has considerable economic development potential.

There are significant advantages, both for full-time and part-time students – particularly for relatively poor families – in having university facilities close to where people live and work.

All these recommendations are backed up by the results of a major research and planning project that was completed in

June last year for the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

I strongly suspect the government is, as in the case of Eskom, guilty of poor planning in university provision in South Africa’s major metropolitan areas.

And on top of attending to university provision in Ekurhuleni as soon as possible, the government ought to be seriously considering the desirability of additional university provision in Tshwane, Johannesburg, eThekwini and Cape Town.

Peter Behrmann

Dunnottar, Nigel

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