The NWU started 2019 on a solid footing. We have made significant progress in implementing our strategy and are in good shape with regard to our core business of teaching-learning, research and community engagement.
However, this does not mean that we should be complacent – our current achievements demand that we address other challenges.
During this year, we will focus on the consolidation of our strategy. If we use the analogy of assembling a computer, we can say we have now assembled the hardware of the NWU computer. We did this when we adopted an organisational structure that supports our strategy. What we have to do next is to refine the software.
This software includes the policies that we have to implement. One of the most complex of these from the point of view of implementation is our language policy.
Council approved this policy at their meeting on 22 November last year, and directed us to implement it.
The simplest and easiest solution would have been to go monolingual, but as you all know, that is not the best solution for a diverse South African university.
Although challenging, the multilingual approach that we have chosen is the best approach for a university such as ours. This approach is based on the principle of inclusivity: everyone at this university must feel included.
You will agree that the implementation of inclusivity in a diverse environment such as ours takes a lot of wisdom and courage.
We will also focus in 2019 on developing, planting and nurturing a university culture which fully supports our strategy of transforming and positioning the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence, with a commitment to social justice.
An important part of this is our ethic of care. It has been a principle of many religions and ethical systems to embrace the golden rule: “do unto others what you would have them do unto you”. But as part of our goal to create a diverse and inclusive environment, we perhaps need to adapt this to say: “treat others as they would like to be treated”.
Prof Dan Kgwadi
The NWU & U
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