North-West University Mafikeng Campus Plans for Engineering Programmes
As part of its transformation agenda, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus announces with excitement its plans to have three new engineering programmes in its qualification mix. The three programmes, Agricultural Engineering, Transport Engineering and Computer Engineering will form part of campus’ Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology (FAST).
Central to its strategic plans, is to focus the Faculty on a path of an effective response to the challenges of a semi-arid rural environment as well as to increase its capacity to respond meaningfully to the major challenges facing our rural communities in the province, country and SADC region.
A substantial amount of work has already gone into preparing for the Agricultural Engineering programme. In 2010 the Faculty led by the Dean (Prof Mashudu Maselesele), was invited to the University of Naples through the enthusiastic help of the South African Ambassador to Italy (Ambassador Thenjiwe Mtintso) where strong collaboration links were concretized between the two universities. Out of this collaboration a Memorandum of Understanding was signed wherein University of Naples committed to give support in capacity development through exchange programmes. A staff member will soon be going to Naples on an exchange programme for his Doctoral degree. Most of the campus`s present Agriculture courses will feature prominently in the new Engineering programme. Applied radiation science and technology will contribute substantially in matters of food security. The research strength in the focus area of food security will add to beefing up this programme. The curriculum is currently being developed.
As far as transport engineering is concerned, the Campus already has Transport Economics as a programme.
In Computer Science the Campus is already producing strong Masters and PhD students and needs to focus more on the Engineering side.
According to the Campus Rector, Professor Dan Kgwadi, the campus is very proud to break the legacy of historically black campuses designed to offer programmes such as ‘music and religious’ studies only.
“We consider this as a meaningful transformation endeavour in widening access to rare academic fields”, said Kgwadi.
The inclusion of these programmes to the campus curriculum will develop a critical mass of engineers who will be familiar with the rural environment.