In a boost for South African science education, the University of South Africa (Unisa) has opened a new, R1bn science campus in Florida, Johannesburg.
The campus houses Unisa’s college of agriculture and environmental sciences and its college of science, engineering and technology.
Most of the funding has come from the university itself, with a portion from the department of higher education & training.
Mandla Makhanya, Unisa’s principal and vice chancellor, says the university intends to play a key role in science education and the new campus offers state-of-the-art teaching facilities.
He says Unisa hopes the new campus will make it a “destination of choice” for those wanting to study science — including agriculture and environmental sciences — as well as engineering and technology.
“Science, engineering and technology have been identified as areas where there is an acute shortage of skills in South Africa,” says science & technology minister Derek Hanekom. “It must receive intense focus in both basic and higher education.”
Hanekom says that last week he convened the science, technology and innovation summit where panellists were asked what should be the one non-negotiable for the South African government when it draws up its budget. “Speaker after speaker said that government, the private sector, academia and civil society ought to prioritise the whole value chain of education.”
The new science campus contains 12 buildings, a library, two auditoriums and a large study area. It also includes a horticultural centre and a multipurpose research and training facility designed to meet the education and research needs of students in a range of programmes including agriculture, ornamental horticulture and nature conservation. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media