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Deloitte report on language in SU residences report on language in SU residencesProf Deresh Ramjugernath: Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching / Viserektor: Leer en Onderrig​<p style="text-align:right;">​<span>1</span><span>4 June 2021</span><br></p><p>Dear member of the SU community<br></p><p>You are probably aware of the allegations made against Stellenbosch University (SU) with regard to the implementation of our <a href="/english/Documents/Language/Final%20June%20Language%20Policy%20November%202016.pdf">Language Policy</a> in the residence environment during the welcoming period in March this year.</p><p>We conducted an internal investigation, and – given the seriousness with which we took the allegations – we also referred the matter to Deloitte for an independent forensic investigation. We have now received their report, and I would like to share the main findings and recommendations with you.</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>To summarise, it was alleged that, during the welcoming period at the start of academic year 2021, student leaders and administrators at some SU residences reportedly prohibited students from conversing in Afrikaans, including informally.</p><p>As soon as the University became aware of these allegations, we immediately launched an internal investigation and our Centre for Student Communities started engaging with student leaders and students in residences to work towards a common understanding of the Language Policy. And as far as we were concerned, the issues were resolved satisfactorily.</p><p>The allegations were reported in the media and complaints were subsequently made by the Freedom Front Plus and the Democratic Alliance to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The Commission launched an inquiry and gave notice to SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers to appear at a hearing in Stellenbosch on 10 May.</p><p>The full statement made at the hearing by Prof De Villiers is <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/20210510%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20SAHRC%20Final.pdf">available here</a>, and <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8226">click here</a> for a summary news report on the University's website.</p><p>Subsequently, the SAHRC scheduled a second round of hearings for 14 and 15 June, again to be held at STIAS. SU has submitted a follow-up report to the SAHRC, and also made the Deloitte report available to the Commission.</p><p><strong>Findings in the Deloitte report</strong></p><p>Deloitte looked into complaints relating to the Minerva, Irene and Francie van Zijl residences and the Capri private student organisation (PSO), and made the following conclusions:<br></p><p><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Minerva:</span></p><ul><li>There was no SU management instruction to prohibit the use of Afrikaans.</li><li>Residence leaders did not issue a prohibition on the use of Afrikaans.</li><li>Several house committee members had experienced feelings of exclusion due to the use of language when they had been first years at Minerva, and therefore wanted to make the 2021 welcoming period more inclusive.</li><li>Most newcomers bought into the idea of using English during the welcoming period for the sake of inclusivity, but the extent of the implementation was initially not clearly defined and communicated, which resulted in speculation that the Welcoming Programme was being used to take away Afrikaans language rights.<br></li></ul><p><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Irene</span>:</p><ul><li>Deloitte did not identify evidence to support the alleged prohibition on the use of Afrikaans at Irene during the welcoming period.<br></li></ul><p><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Huis Francie van Zijl</span>:</p><ul><li>According to Deloitte, it appears that an official complaint was lodged with the SU Equality Unit (EqU) in respect of an alleged prohibition on the use of Afrikaans at Huis Francie van Zijl on the Tygerberg campus dating back to a period between 2018 and 2020. The EqU had recommended an anonymous survey, which residence leaders had agreed to, but it seems a lack of communication might have led the student who complained to believe that attempts at resolving the matter had been futile.<br></li></ul><p><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Capri</span>:</p><ul><li>Deloitte did not identify evidence to support the alleged prohibition on the use of Afrikaans by the Capri private student organisation (PSO) during the amaMaties Cluster day on 6 March 2021.</li></ul><p><strong>Recommendations in the Deloitte report</strong></p><p>The Deloitte report includes recommendations in terms of Minerva and Huis Francie, but they argue that these warrant wider application at SU.</p><p>The first of these is that residence leaders should be educated on the SU Language Policy and its implementation in residences, as well as on complaint procedures regarding the use of language.</p><p>Deloitte also recommended that, for future welcoming periods, residence leaders should:<br></p><ul><li>Specify that the use of a common language is a request for inclusivity and not a command with the intent to subjugate the rights of any other language.</li><li>Define clearly which portions of the Welcoming Programme would be subject to the use of a common language.</li><li>Allow students who feel uncomfortable about speaking English to have their home language translated for the sake of inclusivity.</li><li>Celebrate the use of a common language in building new friendships.</li><li>Inform newcomers of the processes for dealing with complaints and the relevant escalation procedures.</li></ul><p><strong>SU management response to the Deloitte report</strong></p><p>The Rectorate has noted the findings and recommendations of the Deloitte report, and the following will be undertaken to address these:<br></p><ul><li>Training programmes will be developed to explain exactly what the University means by multilingualism, and how it should be embodied and practised. This will include sensitivity training with regard to exclusionary language and behaviour.</li><li>There will be more training with regard to the implementation of the Language Policy in student communities – not only during the welcoming period, but also in the course of the first and consecutive years.</li><li>The information about the Language Policy in SU's institutional welcoming booklet will be expanded to provide a better explanation of the process for complaints.</li><li>Biannual language implementation reporting will be instituted in student communities from the second semester of 2021. These reports will follow the same reporting process as that currently undertaken in respect of faculty reports.</li></ul><p>Finally, I give you the assurance that we remain committed to inclusive multilingualism at SU, taking into account the diversity of our society and the wealth inherent in that diversity. As the VC said in his submission to the SAHRC on 10 May, we believe that our approach to language provides our students with more choices, broader access and a better future.</p><p>Our student body has demonstrated an ability to resolve difficulties around language, with assistance from our Centre for Student Communities. We want to do even better in managing the complexities and possibilities of multilingualism. SU is a place of learning – we are therefore using this episode to improve the experience that we provide to our students.</p><p>Best regards,</p><p><strong>Prof Deresh Ramjugernath</strong><br><strong> Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching</strong></p>
'SciMathUS, paving the way to my MBA''SciMathUS, paving the way to my MBA'Modesty Lewis<p>What a pleasant journey it has been! I was born and bred in Paarl. I grew up in a family of five and I am the youngest of three children. In my Grade 10 year I had the conversation with my parents about my future plans. I soon became aware that my parents were not able to support any form of study financially and that I had to work hard in order to reach my dreams. Even though the competition amongst my peers was tough, I managed to find myself in the top 10 each year and also top student in mathematics; maths was always my favourite. When I finally got to my matric year, I thought I was ready to go out into the world and become a Mechanical Engineer. Little did I know that I was not equipped to overcome the national maths exam paper until I was staring it in the face. Disappointment filled my heart and sorrow filled my eyes as I realised that I will not be able to accomplish what I have planned.<br></p><p>Even though I applied to SciMathUS as a back-up plan earlier that year, it never crossed my mind that I would actually need it. I thank God for the teacher that told me about this bridging course because this was the second chance that I needed. I was lost as my plans fell apart and I was not willing to settle for something I had no interest in. Furthermore, this was also the start of a new journey in my life as I said goodbye to my high school career and started on a fresh expedition with the SciMathUS team, not knowing what will happen. </p><p>My SciMathUS year was probably the best year of teenage life. I was able to experience campus life and make new friends from all over South Africa, while working towards my adjusted goals. Meeting new people and building relationships is the first thing that stood out for me. You were able to speak your mind, while still respecting others, ask questions and then ask again if you still didn't understand. The teachers were very supportive and easy to work with. I always tell people that SciMathUS opened a door in my mind that I didn't know existed. </p><p>The other programmes were also to our advantage, especially mine. We did an introductory course to Engineering Drawings which really helped when I started my first year in engineering. The computer course helped with navigating the University website as well as basic skills like e-mails, Excel and Word. The communication programme developed my skills to write reports and draft proper e-mails that displayed professionalism. We were really spoiled with all of these skills and all we had to do was show up and work hard.</p><p>SciMathUS gave me preliminary exposure to campus life and how to handle it in conjunction with the studies. The programme also provided the necessary support system required to equip myself for university studies. The teachers provided sufficient guidance and taught us new and more efficient ways of studying which I was able to use during my undergraduate studies. </p><p>After I completed my Mechanical Engineering degree, I started working as a Junior Engineer at GRW-Engineering in Worcester. 2021 will be my 8<sup>th</sup> year at the company and I have been promoted numerous times and currently holds the position of Product Design Engineer. Furthermore, my passion for people and leadership has led me to embark on the MBA journey which I completed at the end of 2020. </p><p>For those that might end up in the same boat as me after matric, consider SciMathUS! Even if you just need a back-up plan, SciMathUS could be it. A bridging course is not a disgrace. It is simply an alternative route to achieve your dreams and I am proof of that. SciMathUS changed my life. I was able to substantially improve my marks and was granted a university bursary to cover my tuition. A few months into my studies, I received a full scholarship for my entire course. It was not a walk in the park to get where I am today. I had to work hard and made some difficult sacrifices, but in the end it was worth it. ​<br></p><p><br></p>
'Let me update you' – Prof Wim de Villiers'Let me update you' – Prof Wim de VilliersProf Wim de Villiers<p>8 June 2021<br></p><p>Dear member of the SU community</p><p>I want to provide you with a personal update on our recent appearance before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).<br></p><p>Having received complaints from the Freedom Front Plus and the Democratic Alliance about an alleged prohibition on the use of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University (SU), the SAHRC held a hearing at STIAS on 10 May 2021. <br></p><p>My full statement made on the day is <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/20210510%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20SAHRC%20Final.pdf">available here</a>, but the main points follow below.</p><p>The problem arose at the start of the academic year in March, when student leaders in residence apparently requested newcomer first-years to use English only, to ensure that everyone had access to crucial information. <br></p><p>In a complex environment such as a large university, mistakes can happen. If newcomer students were indeed asked to stick to English in a <em>social</em> context, that would be wrong, as it is not our policy. To the contrary, our Language Policy (<a href="/language"></a>) advances <em>multi</em>lingualism, taking into account the diversity of our society and the intellectual wealth inherent in that diversity. </p><p>So, when the allegations came to the fore, we expeditiously investigated. And we took immediate remedial action. Through our Division of Student Affairs, we engaged with student leaders and students in residences to work towards a common understanding of the Language Policy and its implementation.<br></p><p>Let me be very clear: There is no ban on Afrikaans at SU – not in lecture halls, in residences, or anywhere else on campus. SU is a national asset. We are proud of our contribution to human development, and are confident that our students have more choices, broader access and a better future as a result of our approach to language. <br></p><p>I undertake to keep you informed in this regard, and we will share new developments with you as the process unfolds. As always, I am available for further discussion.<br></p><p>Let me conclude with good news. We are pleased to report that SU has broken its own record for the most qualifications ever awarded at the institution in an academic year. The latest figures show that the University conferred 9 234 degrees, certificates and diplomas in 2020 – up from the previous record of 9 133 set in 2019. (<a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8304">Click here</a> to read more.)</p><p>This is a remarkable achievement, considering the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It speaks volumes for SU's ability to be agile, as well as for the can-do attitude of our staff and students. </p><p>We would not have been able to manage this without your backing and encouragement. Thank you for your ongoing support. <br></p><p>Let us now go forward together, saam vorentoe, sonke siya phambili!<br></p><p><strong>Prof Wim de Villiers<br></strong><strong>Rector and Vice-Chancellor<br></strong><strong>Stellenbosch University</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Record number of qualifications in 2020 despite COVID-19 challenges number of qualifications in 2020 despite COVID-19 challengesCorporate Communication and Marketing Division<p></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) has broken its own record for the most qualifications awarded at the institution in an academic year. The latest figures show that the University conferred 9 234 degrees, certificates and diplomas in 2020 – up from the previous record of 9 133 set in 2019.<br></p><p>“This is a remarkable achievement, considering the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers said.</p><p>When contact tuition was suspended on university campuses nationwide in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19, SU responded by pivoting to emergency remote teaching, learning and assessment (ERTLA). </p><p>“The crisis pressed the fast-forward button on our plans to slowly but surely include more online and hybrid elements in our learning and teaching offering. What we had been planning to do over five years, we had to get done in five weeks," Prof De Villiers explained.</p><p>“It was a tremendous team effort. Everyone pulled their weight – from lecturers who had to repackage their courses, and students who had to get used to exclusively online class attendance and assessments, to overloaded ICT systems that had to be upgraded in record time."</p><p>“SU procured more than 1 700 laptops, which were subsequently made available on a loan basis to students who needed them. Considering we were in a hard lockdown, we obtained special permission for courier services to deliver the laptops to addresses across the country. The University provided mobile data to students to ensure they would have access to the internet. And we created a dedicated support site to help students with various aspects of the new, online mode of learning and teaching."</p><p>“Assessments were conducted mostly online for the first time in SU's history. Faculties and departments, lecturers and support divisions made an extraordinary effort in a very short space of time to ensure that exams could proceed."<br></p><p>All of this paid off when the University held a first set of graduation ceremonies for the academic year in December 2020, and a second set in March/April 2021. While, initially, the number of qualifications awarded was slightly less than in 2019, it became apparent that some master's and doctoral students who had been on a trajectory to graduate just did not manage to complete their research in time due to the impact of COVID-19. They could, for instance, not do field research during the stricter levels of lockdown. </p><p>To accommodate these candidates, the submission deadline for their theses and dissertations was extended to 1 March 2021. Their faculties had their research examined, and submitted the results by 14 May. Various units of the University then collaborated to ensure that proper governance processes were followed to have the candidates' results approved – first by faculty boards, and then by the Executive Committee of Senate on 25 May 2021.</p><p>Thanks to this concession, an additional 105 master's and 31 doctoral degrees could be included in SU's final Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) report for 2020 to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The graduates will be afforded the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremonies in December 2021 (COVID-19 permitting).</p><p>The additional qualifications take SU's tally for master's and doctoral degrees for the 2020 academic year to 1 316 and 302 respectively, and the overall number of qualifications conferred to 9 234. Of these, 4 769 were at undergraduate and 4 465 at postgraduate level.</p><p>“These are some of the highest figures of all universities in South Africa. Through these qualifications, we are proud to be making a valuable contribution to the development of our country, our continent and the rest of the world," Prof De Villiers said.</p><p>An important part of the high level of student success achieved at SU in 2020 was the extensive support programme rolled out behind the scenes. This not only enabled the initial rapid switch to online learning and teaching, but also sustained the new approach for the rest of the academic year.</p><p>With financial support from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Harry Crossley Foundation, SU was able to expand its capacity to develop additional multimedia educational material and offer its students more virtual academic tutoring, mentoring, psychosocial support and technical assistance. </p><p>A dedicated support site was created to assist lecturers with the switch to ERTLA, and daily webinars were well attended. </p><p>Additional tutoring was offered to 22 534 students, and a special short course was developed to improve tutors' skills. Tutors reported that the extra time spent with students had relieved the pressure on lecturers and facilitated enhanced teaching and learning, while students also attested to the benefits of the additional support.</p><p>The SU Language Centre delivered over 1 250 podcast translations to convert English learning material into Afrikaans in support of multilingualism. The Centre also hosted academic skills webinars, produced writing skills videos, provided online reading and writing support, as well as real-time interpreting for deaf students.</p><p>“Congratulations to everyone concerned. These achievements speak volumes for SU's ability to be agile in the face of adversity, as well as for the can-do attitude of our staff and students," Prof De Villiers said.<br><br></p>
SciMathUS launches #ChangingLives campaign launches #ChangingLives campaignDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​The SciMathUS Programme (Science and Mathematics at Stellenbosch University) in collaboration with the University's Development and Alumni Relations Division, has launched its #ChangingLives campaign to celebrate the programme passing its 20-year milestone in 2020 and ensure its financial sustainability going forward. <br></p><p>Presented by the<strong> </strong><a href="/english/faculty/education/suncep/university-preparation-programmes-(upp)/scimathus">Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP)</a>, this programme annually offers 100 learners, who have already passed Grade 12, but do not qualify for higher education selection or did not gain access to courses with high entry requirements, a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting to enable them to re-apply for university programmes; specifically those focusing on STEM related fields. Established in 2001 with a mere 40 students partaking, SciMathUS has grown to help 1 697 young people change the trajectory of their lives. No fewer than 398 students have gone on to obtain a degree at SU, and 124 postgraduate degrees have been awarded, including four doctorates. </p><p>“SciMathUS is fully dependant on philanthropic donations to ensure that students from educationally disadvantaged environments get a second chance to improve their NSC marks. Together with the University's Development and Alumni Relations Division, we want to ensure that SciMathUS grows from strength to strength. The aim is to make sure that the programme, with support from all stakeholders, continues to create even more opportunities for students to reach their full academic potential over the next 20 years," says Nokwanda Siyengo, SciMathUS Programme Manager.</p><p>In a recent video, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, paid tribute to all those involved with this programme. “Allow me to pay tribute to everyone involved with SciMathUS the past two decades: The students and their families, all the staff members throughout the years, and of course, the donors and friends of the programme for their loyal support."</p><p>He added: “With your help, we can ensure that many more young people from under-resourced environments gain access to higher education and become economically active citizens contributing to the knowledge economy." Be sure <a href=""><strong>to watch his video here</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>.</strong></span></p><p><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></span></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="727" height="409" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><strong>​</strong></p><p>Over the next 20 weeks, SciMathUS will be sharing videos and stories of their past students with Stellenbosch University alumni, friends of the University and donors. You can follow the #ChangingLives campaign on social media, share with your network or make a financial contribution via the <a href=""><strong>SciMathUS GivenGain fundraising page</strong></a><strong>, </strong>SnapScan or the <a href=""><strong>University's website (just pick the “SUNCEP" option)</strong></a><strong>.</strong><br></p><p>You can follow SciMathUS on the following channels:<br></p><ul><li>Facebook – Stellenbosch Alumni / SciMathUS<br></li><li>Instagram – @MatiesAlumni / @scimathus</li><li>Twitter – @SU_Alumni / @SUNCEP</li><li>Join Maties Connect: <a href=""></a><br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Karen Bruns appointed to Executive Committee of Higher Education Fundraising Forum Bruns appointed to Executive Committee of Higher Education Fundraising ForumDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p></p><p>Karen Bruns, Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations at Stellenbosch University (SU), has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the newly created Higher Education Fundraising Forum (HEFF), a new Community of Practice established within Universities South Africa (USAf).</p><p>USAf's Communities of Practice are fora comprising of specialist professionals from various disciplines pertinent to running a university. These groups meet on a regular basis to share knowledge and information, to network and foster collaboration of public universities on national initiatives, and to support one another by discussing common concerns and devising collective solutions for specific problems.</p><p>The objective of the Fundraising Forum is to promote fundraising best practice in the South African higher education sector. This will be done through the sharing of information and knowledge resources; promoting collaboration between higher education institutions in South Africa; addressing local, regional and global challenges of research, innovation and development; and promoting joint academic projects.</p><p>"It is a great privilege to represent Stellenbosch University on this Forum. It affords me the opportunity to promote debate on national fundraising initiatives and issues and have a say in the development of policy and practices in response to national and international fundraising standards," said Bruns.</p><p>"In our current national and international context, greater collaboration is key - and this is exactly what this Forum will bring to the table," she added. </p><p>The establishment of this Forum has garnered positive responses from professionals operating within the local and international fundraising spheres. </p><p>Nazeema Mohamed, Executive Director of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement in the institutional and non-profit sectors, said to have this Forum feature within USAf will assist in institutionalising good practice. “Well done on setting up the Higher Education Fundraising Forum as a USAf Community of Practice. This Forum is greatly needed in the sector."  </p><p>Bill Moses, Managing Director for The Kresge Foundation's Education Programme, noted that he is glad to see the development of this group. “According to a recent Inyathelo survey, there are nearly 200 advancement professionals in South Africa today, so HEFF has a nice potential pool of members."</p><p>“It's so nice to see many familiar names [on the Executive]. Please keep us abreast of HEFF's activities in the future. There will likely be areas of collaboration, particularly around vehicles for fundraising platforms," said Hafeeza Rashed, Senior Advisor of Communications and Outreach at the King Baudouin Foundation in the United States. </p><ul><li><span style="text-decoration:underline;">USAf on the web:</span> <a href=""></a> <br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Maties remains committed to inclusive multilingualism remains committed to inclusive multilingualism Wim de Villiers<p><em>​​​In an opinion editorial on </em>News24<em>, SU Rector Prof Wim de Villiers, says that language – more particularly Afrikaans – at SU has again been hotly discussed recently. He asks if there really is a problem or whether is it opportunism for political gain. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here </a>to see it on that site, or read submitted text below.</em>​​</p><p>Language – more particularly Afrikaans – at Stellenbosch University (SU) has again been hotly discussed in the media over the past while. Is there an actual problem, or are we dealing with opportunism for political gain? I believe it's the latter, and I will be supporting this statement by relying on the facts about SU and language.<br></p><p>From the outset, I admit that things do go wrong sometimes. If students are being instructed not to use Afrikaans in a social context, it is wrong. It is equally wrong if students are being pressurised not to use Afrikaans in a course where Afrikaans is clearly accommodated in the course specifications. This is not our policy; it is not supposed to happen. I am sorry about it; we are investigating and rectifying the matter. </p><p>This, however, does not mean that the University is undermining Afrikaans. On the contrary, SU is doing more in and for Afrikaans than most other universities. That's a fact. </p><p>Let's look at more facts. Is SU an English university? No, even though we are inaccurately depicted as such. Is SU an isiXhosa university? Clearly not. We currently use fairly little isiXhosa, although we do try to develop it too as an academic language. Is SU an Afrikaans university? No, we haven't been for a long time, and we cannot be one either, no matter how much some would like to cling to the past. </p><p>SU is a leading research-intensive university – ranked among the top 1% in the world – that pursues inclusive multilingualism. We are one of very few higher education institutions in our multilingual country doing so. </p><p>We use English as one of our mediums of instruction because we want to serve the entire population, and not only a certain portion. We are funded from taxpayers' money to a significant extent, which means we need to be accessible to all.</p><p>At the same time, we have Afrikaans as our other medium of instruction to satisfy a particular need and demand, as far as we possibly can.</p><p>Yet this does not mean every module of every subject in every year of study is fully available in both English and Afrikaans. Multilingual learning and teaching is costly and complex. Nevertheless, when our current Language Policy was drafted in 2016, we consciously decided not to go down the route of unilingualism, but chose multilingualism instead. And that policy is being implemented.</p><p>At registration this year, 37,7% of undergraduates indicated Afrikaans as their home language, 49,2% of whom said they would prefer to be taught in English. Those with isiXhosa and other official South African languages other than English and Afrikaans as their home language account for 11,5% of the undergraduate student body this year. </p><p>These numbers reflect the diversity of our students, and the demand for tuition in Afrikaans remains significant, with 20% of all undergraduates expressing such a preference this year.</p><p>For the past five years, our academic offering in the three modes provided for in our Language Policy has remained more or less the same. In 2020, 17,8% of classes took place in parallel medium (separate English and Afrikaans streams), 63,2% in double medium (lectures in English, with a summary in Afrikaans) and 19% in single medium (English-only or Afrikaans-only lectures).</p><p>We are committed to multilingualism because it adds value and enriches students' learning experience. As an educational institution, our approach to language is pedagogical. That means we are first and foremost concerned with unlocking and transferring knowledge, with language as the medium through which knowledge is accessed.</p><p>But language as such is not our main focus. After all, it is not the primary duty of a university, as an institution, to promote any particular language (although academic departments who offer a language as a subject do have a responsibility in this regard). We do have language promotion initiatives, such as the SU Woordfees, our support for the <em>Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal</em>, and our co-sponsorship of the Jan H Marais prize for exceptional contributions to Afrikaans as an academic language. But our primary emphasis is on language as a medium of instruction.</p><p>Therefore, we make an effort to develop students' academic language skills, such as through the course offering of the SU Language Centre, one of the best in the South African higher education sector. Our Language Centre also does a lot of translation, interpreting and editing work, and develops trilingual subject terminologies. </p><p>Then why did Senate, SU's highest academic body, recently agree that lecturers could issue new learning material in English only, and not in Afrikaans as well, as provided for in our Language Policy? For a very specific reason, and only for a limited time. It only applies to the first semester of this year, and was approved because of the additional workload brought about by the shift to more online teaching due to COVID-19. </p><p>It is important to distinguish between the implementation of the current Language Policy (of 2016), and its review. The Senate decision relates to the former, not the latter. The review is taking place this year, as the policy itself requires this to happen every five years. It is a transparent, participatory process, and anyone can deliver input – both from within the University and from the broad public. (For more information, visit</p><p>Our Department of Afrikaans and Dutch recently criticised the way in which language is being dealt with at SU, by way of an open letter in the media. It is a pity that existing communication channels at the University were not utilised for this, especially since the information requested is indeed available. Since the commencement of our current Language Policy in 2017, faculties have submitted Language Policy implementation plans twice a year, and three overall surveys have been conducted among students and staff. All this information is regularly shared and used to keep our policy implementation on track. </p><p>Still, we are a university – an institution where dialogue and debate are respected. I have invited the colleagues concerned for a discussion with management and look forward to constructive outcomes.</p><p>However, I am less positive about political parties and lobbies' mobilisation around SU's Language Policy. They pay no regard to the facts and are apparently oblivious to the complexities associated with implementing multilingualism at a large higher education institution. They incite, and sow discord. Are they doing this for political gain in an election year? Are they trying to canvass votes? Of particular concern to me is the polarisation this is causing. It is unacceptable for Maties, or any other university in South Africa, to be abused as a political football and punchbag.</p><p>What seems like another instance of politicking is the fact that Afrikaans is no longer regarded as an indigenous language in the new <em>Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions</em>, which the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) promulgated in October 2020. To align with this move, the definition of official and indigenous languages from the DHET document has been incorporated into the first draft of our revised Language Policy. Yet back in 2018, in our feedback on the then draft DHET framework, we already pointed out that we strongly supported viewing Afrikaans as indigenous. All universities will also have to make allowance for the implications of the new framework. I have already brought the matter to the attention of Universities South Africa.</p><p>SU undoubtedly is an asset to the country and to all our people. This was proven yet again at our recent autumn graduation ceremonies, which marked the official end to our 2020 academic year. In extremely challenging circumstances last year, we managed to confer sought-after SU qualifications, including 270 doctorates, on 9 079 students – among the highest numbers in the country. We are proud of our contribution to human development and are keen to move forward in this manner, along with all our stakeholders.</p><p><em>* Prof Wim de Villiers is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University.</em></p><p><br> </p>
SciMathUS welcomes Class of 2021 welcomes Class of 2021Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​You are at the right place to make your dreams come true. This was the message to 100 new students who embarked on their 2021 SciMathUS journey at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Monday, 15 March.  <br></p><p>The SciMathUS programme forms part of a variety of units within the Faculty of Education at SU and specifically in the Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP). The programme annually offers 100 learners, who have already passed Grade 12, but do not qualify for higher education selection, a second opportunity to improve their NSC results in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting to enable them to re-apply for university programmes, specifically those focusing on STEM related fields.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, told the new cohort that even though they're at the right place, there is a but... "YOU have to take control of your own destiny. The SciMathUS staff – and their colleagues in SUNCEP and elsewhere at the University – are there to teach you and mentor you and help and support you – but you have to do the work. I have no doubt you will do your best."</p><p>He added: “Our top student from last year's SciMathUS class, Thabo Mthombeni, said it best in an interview: 'Work hard, work smart. Sit down every day and study. Know what your dream is. After the year at SciMathUS, Thabo scored 91% for Mathematics and 98% for Physical Sciences. That will open any door! "</p><p>In her address to the Class of 2021 and their parents, Nokwanda Siyengo, Director of SciMathUS, said that her team is looking forward to a year of achievement. "Let me tell you that in 2020 the average for Mathematics was 71.2% while Physical Sciences was 75.9%. This then means that you as group need to keep this level of performance or even go above it."</p><p>Quoting American thought leader, Christian D Larson, she said: "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside that is greater than any obstacle that you may face."</p><p>Siyengo added that the students' success is central to the mission at SciMathUS. "Please reach out to us whenever you have questions. We are here to support you every step of the way in this journey that you are starting today."</p><p>SciMathus celebrates 20<sup>th</sup> year of changing lives this year, and continues to produce success stories, commented Siyengo. Since 2001, many SciMathUS students have succeeded to obtain university degrees in medicine, engineering, science and business studies.</p><p>The 20-year celebrations will among others take the form of an online campaign, called #ChangingLives. The aim is to make sure that the programme, with support from all stakeholders, continues to create even more opportunities for students to reach their full academic potential over the next 20 years.</p><p>Please follow SciMathUS' social media pages over the next few months, where the spotlight will shine on the programme as well as alumni who have since graduated and made great strides in their respective fields.</p><ul><li>Facebook - Stellenbosch Alumni / SciMathUS</li><li>Instagram - @MatiesAlumni / @scimathus</li><li>Twitter - @SU_Alumni / @SUNCEP</li><li>Join Maties Connect: <a href=""></a>​</li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Thuli Madonsela, SRC challenge you to contribute to the initiative of scrapping student debt Madonsela, SRC challenge you to contribute to the initiative of scrapping student debtDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​Professor Thuli Madonsela, who holds Stellenbosch University's Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, has gifted R27 000 to #Action4Inclusion in celebration of the 27 Years of Democracy. Together with the Stellenbosch University (SU) Student Representative Council (SRC), she challenges SU alumni, members of the public, companies, and captains of industry to contribute to the initiative of scrapping student debt and specifically, to help Maties to access their academic results, that cannot be made available due to outstanding fees.</p><p>#Action4Inclusion is a SU student funding initiative aimed at ensuring academic inclusion by settling outstanding study fees for students in need. The initiative was established by the SRC and Madonsela, with the support of the university's Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR) to ensure that no student is left behind due to their financial circumstances.</p><p>“This year marks 27 years of healing the divisions of the past and freeing the potential of all. As unemployment and poverty explode, we do not want angry young people seething over stolen dreams," says Madonsela. </p><p>Madonsela adds that she “challenges all to give a 'democracy dividend' to young people striving to get a university qualification. In addition to alleviating student's financial stresses related to their possibilities of re-registration, donations to #Action4Inclusion will help Maties access their academic results that cannot be made available due to outstanding fees. Getting them over the final hurdle will in turn enhance students' social mobility in pursuit of social justice while capitalising them as essential assets for sustainable economic growth and development".</p><p>According to Karen Bruns, Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations at SU, this initiative will indeed complement existing efforts to raise much-needed funds for Matie students. “It is heartening to see our students and staff coming together to support one another as we work towards ensuring equal opportunities for all."</p><p><strong>Removing Maties students' biggest obstacle</strong></p><p>“Outstanding student debt is regarded as one of the most significant challenges faced by many SU students from poor and working-class families," explains Xola Njengele, the SRC Chairperson at Maties. “It is increasingly becoming the biggest obstacle on their way to success. Being overburdened is also potentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating financial difficulties for such students in the past year," he adds.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SNAPSCAN_ENG_sized.jpg" alt="SNAPSCAN_ENG_sized.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px;" /> <br></p><p>The SRC is very grateful toward Prof Madonsela, who drives the campaign and partakes in various "fun-with-a-purpose" activities, such as sponsored hikes and walkathons to raise awareness on the global impediment created by student debt. In addition to raising awareness, Prof Madonsela utilises her broad platform by reaching out to colleagues, professionals, and businesses in order to acquire contributions. Moreover, the SRC recognises the various efforts by the University to assist students with financial difficulties, but a special effort is now needed to assist students in these challenging times. </p><p><strong>Digital donation drive set in motion</strong></p><p>The SRC, in collaboration with Prof Madonsela and DAR, now implore SU alumni, members of the public, companies and captains of industry to contribute, match or exceed her donation to this worthy cause. The #Action4Inclusion campaign, hosted on <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a>, went live on the GivenGain donating platform in October 2020 and is hoping to get support not only from Maties alumni but also ordinary South Africans – here and abroad.</p><p>Asked why he felt the need to support #Action4Inclusion, Jean Meiring, SU alumnus and Council member who matched Madonsela says, “At all stages of my life, education and access to money to obtain an education were a given for me. How I might pay for my education was not something I ever lost any sleep over. The same does not apply to many SU students, who struggle to find the money to stay at this institution, not least in a world beset by many new challenges and threats. It's important that those of us who were privileged to be able to take education for granted, help today's students not so privileged."</p><p><strong>TARGETS</strong></p><p><em>Affected students would be unable to register by 15 March, if a first target amount is not raised – so the first target amount (owed from 2019) is R2 million needed for students to register by 15 March. </em></p><p><em>The second target is R2.7 million by 27 April, and the final target is R10 million by 16 June for 2020 debt. </em></p><p>#Action4Inclusion on Maties Alumni website: </p><p style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href=""><strong></strong></a> </p><p>#Action4Inclusion on GivenGain website: </p><p><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> <br></p><p><br></p>
SU continues upward trend; among best universities in emerging economies continues upward trend; among best universities in emerging economiesCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>​While the Covid-19 pandemic might have caused major disruptions in higher education, it couldn't dent Stellenbosch University's (SU) reputation as one of the best tertiary institutions in the world. This is confirmed by the 2021 <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Times Higher Education (THE) Emerging Economies Universities Rankings</strong></a>, released on Tuesday (9 March 2021). </p><p>SU is ranked number 23 out of 606 institutions from countries or regions classified as “advanced emerging", “secondary emerging" or “frontier" – having improved steadily since 2017 when it came in at number 42. Six of the country's institutions are ranked among the top 100. </p><p>Described as the “most competitive THE Emerging Economies Universities Rankings so far" by THE's Chief Knowledge Officer Phil Baty, the 2021 ranking includes a record number of institutions, representing a 14% increase from 2020 (533).</p><p>According to THE, universities are ranked according to their core missions of teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), knowledge transfer (industry income) and international outlook (staff, students and research) to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons. In terms of research, SU occupies the 3<sup>rd</sup> position among South African universities.</p><p>According to THE, the 2021 ranking demonstrates that emerging universities are improving faster than those in developed countries or regions around the rest of the world.<br></p><p>Commenting on SU's most recent achievement, Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Internationalisation at SU, said the University is steadily improving its positions on various world rankings. “This underscores one of our core strategic themes, namely 'Research for Impact'. The fact that Stellenbosch is able to improve its ranking during the Covid-19 pandemic is no mean feat." </p><p>She adds that it is proof of SU's research impact across the globe and the recognition afforded to the calibre and stature of its researchers.</p><p>“While we are cognisant of the importance of rankings in the overall perception of an institution's (global) academic and research standing, our focus is on academic and research excellence that will shape a better world for all," she reiterates. “It is, however, hugely gratifying when we gain international recognition in our quest to deliver solutions to societal problems through world-class research and scientific programmes."</p><p>In 2020, SU cemented its place among the top universities in the world when it appeared on three major global university rankings, namely the Academic Ranking of World Universities (also known as the Shanghai Rankings), the THE World University Rankings, and the US News & World Report Best Global Universities Ranking.<br></p><p>​<br></p>