The University of Zululand (UNIZULU) has established two new engineering degree programmes within its curriculum. From next year, the university will offer Bachelor degree programmes in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering at its Richards Bay Campus.
This will be the first time UNIZULU offers graduate programmes in engineering.
Construction Industry Development Board CEO Cyril Gamede says the new programmes will bolster the output of engineering graduates in the country and provide opportunities for young people who want to make a career in the engineering and construction sectors.
“This is the culmination of a planning process that started nearly a decade ago,” says Gamede, who served as chairperson of the UNIZULU council from 2015 to 2017.
“We recognised the need to graduate more engineers in South Africa in order to meet the needs of our developing economy.
“A concept was born to develop engineering programmes from historically black universities, with UNIZULU as a test case. The new engineering programmes in historically disadvantaged universities will produce young professionals that can lead the country’s future investment in construction and infrastructure.”
UNIZULU Vice-Chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose notes that the university will, however, now require large-scale investment in the development of physical and laboratory infrastructure over the next ten years, to ensure that the offering of engineering programmes is a success.
“Developing such infrastructure requires the adoption of an integrated district infrastructure development model, which creates interdependencies and strong collaboration between UNIZULU, the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Department of Science and Innovation, uMhlathuze municipality, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Works and Infrastructure, and private industries in Richards Bay.”
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has provided future infrastructure funding for the faculty.
“There are countless young South Africans, especially in rural areas, who have the talent and ambition to follow careers in the construction and engineering sector, but who are being denied because of limited opportunities,” says Gamede.
“This initiative will provide opportunities for young people in the nearby areas to realise their professional dreams without travelling long distances to unfamiliar environments. This will also hopefully reduce the stress in students and hopefully improve the pass rate.”
The closing date for applications is January 21.