Rural areas to get universities

2011-09-16 13:43

The Department of Higher Education and Training will this month decide the date for the start of construction work of South Africa’s new universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

A ministerial task team is currently busy with an implementation plan for the universities.

President Jacob Zuma announced in 2009 that the two provinces should have universities as part of government’s plan to ensure that rural areas had the necessary skills for development.

There are 23 universities in the country but Mpumalanga and Northern Cape are yet to have their own.

Higher education and training spokesperson Muzi Khumalo told City Press that details about the exact location of the two institutions was still being discussed by stakeholders.

“We should know before the end of this month when construction will begin, but no decision has been taken on the location (within the two provinces),” Khumalo said.

He however declined to reveal a budget for the institutions. “I’m not at liberty to disclose the figures, but they will cost a substantial amount of money,” said Khumalo.

Mpumalanga government has indicated that it wished to have campuses in the province’s three districts of Gert Sibande, Ehlanzeni and Nkangala. The province also plans to have an academic hospital.

Chairperson of the university task team in Northern Cape Dr Kopane Taole said the provincial cabinet had endorsed a document that described the type of university, the character and programme mix, strategies and location.

The document, said Taole, was produced after a higher education and training summit that was held in March this year.

“It is ready to be handed to the ministerial task team,” Taole said.

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