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Vaal University of Technology
Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


University description (as per official university website)

In the 44 years of its existence, first as a College of Advanced Technical Education (1966- 1979) then as Vaal Triangle Technikon (1979-2003), Vaal University of Technology has grown in stature as a higher education institution, drawing students from all over the country. It is one of the largest residential Universities of Technology, with about 17 000 students. This position enables it to make a substantial contribution to the development of human resources in the region and country.
The campus boasts excellent facilities conducive to learning, research, recreation and sport, art and culture, and community engagement. Lecture halls, laboratories, a number of auditoriums and offices are situated on 4.6 hectares. Four satellite campuses extend the services of the University, at Secunda, Kempton Park, Klerksdorp and Upington. An extension to the main campus is located in Sebokeng on the old campus of Vista University. Besides the four faculties, various departments serve the students, catering for their various needs.

V I S I O N:

To be a dynamic centre of technology leading in quality education for the nation.

M I S S I O N:

The Vaal University of Technology is committed to the development of higher education through:

TEACHING AND LEARNING: To achieve excellence in teaching and learning endeavours by developing entrepreneurial, technological and cognitive skills. To create an environment conductive to develop behavioural, attitudinal competencies and social skills through cultural, sporting and personal development activities.
RESEARCH: To generate innovative and relevant research which solves the problems of industry and the community.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: To create a culture of Lifelong Learning to empower our communities by sharing knowledge, skills and resources
All these functions will be enhanced by national and international partnerships in order to meet the needs of stakeholders of a democratic society.
The emphasis on career-focused diploma and degree programmes is designed to prepare students for the world of work. Many programmes include practical experience in the work-place, so that students "hit-the-ground running" when they begin their working lives. Because of its practical approach to teaching and research, involvement in the community, transfer of knowledge and technology, and entrepreneurial emphasis, Vaal University of Technology endeavours to educate people for the real world.


Research: Research has become a focal point of the University. While applied research is the main focus of a university of technology, numerous papers are presented both nationally and internationally by staff and students. The university has five Research Institutes involved in multidisciplinary, applied research:

1. Institute of Applied Electronics - The institute houses the Telkom Center of Excellence (CoE). It is co-sponsored by Telkom, M-TEC (Malesela Taihan Electric Cable (PTY) LTD) and TFMC (Telecommunications Facilities Management Company). The focus is on the development of affordable telephone facilities. This has grown into two areas of interest identified towards further research: Fuel Cell technology, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
2. Institute for High Voltage Studies - the IHVS specialises in cable research mainly in partnership with ESKOM (Electricity Supply Commission)
3. Institute for Chemical and Biotechnology - The ICBT provides for mutlidiscplinary research all in areas of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Technology. It partners with Sedichem (Sedibeng Chemical Incubator); Chemcity (Sasol) and CHIETA (Chemical Services SETA) to provide opportunities for research.
4. Institute for Sustainable Livelihoods - The ISL focuses on research on food and nutrition strategies to address poverty in an urban area. Its partners in this area of research include universities in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Africa and India.
5. Enterprise Development Unit - which focuses on entrepreneurship.


TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND INNOVATION: The above institutes and research are supported by the Department of Technology Transfer and Innovation (TTI) which provides for start-up companies and spin-offs; seeks opportunities for commercialisation of research; and assists inventors and researchers in their applications for patents and copyright, . TTI also houses the Technology Station in Material and Processing Technologies which assists SMEs involved in downstream chemical products.

DEPARTMENT OF STUDENT SERVICES: This department offers students services such as student development, student governance (SRC), promotes cultural and developmental activities and a host of other support services for the benefit of our students.

CO-OPERATIVE EDUCATION: Cooperative education is a programme, which formally integrates a studentís academic studies with work experience in participating employer organizations. It is a cooperative venture between an organization, a student and an academic institution. It can be in any subject or discipline area. A strategy of applied learning (learning integrated with work), which involves a structured educational program that combines productive relevant work experience with academic study and professional "reflection". This is "education for the world of work".

VUT FM: Students have the pleasure of being entertained by their very own campus radio station: VUT FM. This improves social relations on campus and amongst members of the local community.

SPORTS: VUT is well-known for its two famous sons - Mbulaeni Malaudzi (Commonwealth and Olympic 800 metre Gold and Silver medalist) and Chris Harmse (Hammerthrow Gold medalist), We boast our own sports stadium (known as the Izak Steyl Stadium named in honour of a former Vice-Chancellor of Vaal Triangle Technikon). Sporting facilities are in abundance offering a wide variety of sporting codes up to international Olympic participation. A Sports Academy has recently been established to provide specific support to sportspersons who wish to pursue academic studies at VUT.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OFFICE: This office coordinates all international exchange programmes. The Vaal University of Technology is home to over 1200 foreign students.

LIBRARY: Students have access to five floors of books and facilities in our library. Extended library hours to cater for students after hours.

STUDENT COUNSELLING: A special department has been established to cater for the needs of students for Support and Counselling.

CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY SERVICES AND LIFELONG LEARNING: The Centre is involved with industry, offering a range of in-house courses that are tailor-made to meet the needs of industry, and with the local communities in a range of Service Learning activities. Projects identified are communicated to the academic faculties for research projects by postgraduate students.

MARKETING AND DEVELOPMENT: The institution has a track record of good, sound financial management. The University makes a concerted effort to build relationships and sustain partnerships with its donors to secure adequate funding.

"Vaal University of Technology : Education for the Real World"


Current international realities in higher education, as well as trends in SA and its neighbouring countries necessitate that higher education institutions align and adopt strategies to keep pace with global trends. On the international scene the impact of globalisation, the changing world of work, the information era, new modes of knowledge production and the emergence of a new learning industry, has had, and is having, a major influence on the restructuring of higher education institutions.

In the Southern African context other dimensions need to be added to these trends. These include the international competitiveness of the region, high unemployment, economic indicators that predict low economic growth rates, and youth and literacy profiles that indicate huge demands will be made on the existing education and training facilities.

The new and critical role that technology higher education institutions (formerly known as Technikons) have to play in South Africa is becoming more evident by the day. The country has an urgent need for institutions of higher education with different academic cultures - institutions that focus on stimulating economic growth and increasing international competitiveness, institutions that inject a new generation of highly skilled graduates with relevant specialised knowledge and skills, and who will become essential tools of progress in a competitive workforce.

A university of technology is a unique institution within the family of institutions offering higher education. General universities are known for their wide range of disciplines offered through various programmes. Although technology is often used in the programme delivery or part of the curricula of a programme, technology is not the main focus of study, nor the object of study. At a university of technology, technology is the object of study. A university of technology, in addition to the basic responsibilities of a university, places particular value in its academic activities on the search for innovative applications of technology in all fields of human endeavour.

A University of Technology is distinguished by the following:

- Career-oriented : educates people for the world of work

- Relevant : industry makes input into its diploma and degree programmes

- Practical : programmes are practical and hands-on (what do you need to know and how do you apply it)

- Work-integrated Learing : Experiential Learning is part of the qualification and enables graduates to "hit-the-ground-running" when they enter the workplace

- Applied Research : Research is practical and applied. It seeks solutions to modern-day problems

- Education for the Real World

Technikons as Universities of Technology Download
A document, which lays the foundation for the repositioning of Technikons as Universities of Technology.

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