Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mention during his State of the Nation Address last week of a new University of Science and Innovation, to be built in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Dr Blade Nzimande this week provided further detail.
The Minister said the university would be closely linked to driving high-impact and cutting-edge technological innovation with current and future industries, sectors and firms, to drive the frontiers of a future economy.
Ekurhuleni had been the only metropolitan without a university in South Africa and government wanted to address this through establishing a new institution.
Nzimande said the university would develop a dynamic relationship with what is the industrial and small and medium-sized enterprise heartland of South Africa.
“We believe that this location, together with fresh new challenges arising from the revolution in science and technology in the third decade of the twenty-first century, offer an opportunity for a new initiative to provide cutting-edge science and technology innovations across crucial areas such as data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and hydrogen-powered technologies, including smart transportation and logistics systems,” Nzimande noted.
The Minister will provide further details on the establishment of the proposed university during the Higher Education and Training Departmental Budget Vote later this year.
Meanwhile, Nzimande also commented on the President’s announcement of a further R64-billion that will be set aside for student accommodation, saying it would go a long way towards addressing the accommodation needs in the post-school sector.
The Department of Higher Education and Training develops large-scale student housing projects at universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges through its Student Housing Infrastructure Programme.
Government’s goal is to provide 300 000 new beds at 26 public universities and 50 public TVET colleges over ten years.
The department is currently developing large projects that will provide 7 273 new beds at various universities.