This was First of its kind and the first in the last three years.
The North West University Management (Mafikeng Campus) together with its rector Professor Kgwadi held a consultative meeting with students of all faculties which ended yesterday. Yesterday's meeting was only the last meeting which was for the Commerce and Administration faculty only.
According to the Campus rector, Prof. Kgwadi, the purpose of this meeting was to engage with students on matters that involve them, how they affect them and what can be done to address such issues. And also give students a platform or chance to raise their concerns as far as the university and any matter related to the university and students themselves are concerned.
Dr. Mosimegi, Vice Rector of Academic said that one of the university strategy is to: "improve our learning and teaching." For students, this means that there will be supplementary instructions that students can use in addition to "direct contact" that students have with their lecturers.
According to Mosimegi, in providing quality learning and teaching - the academic staff also have to improve their qualifications in order to achieve such an objectives or quality learning and teaching. In order for the academics to improve on their qualifications, Mosimegi said that the university had established a "Rector Special Fund" which will provide academics with financial assistance as far as furthering they qualification's concerned.
Quality research was also one of the issues emphasized as far as quality learning and research is concerned. Mosimegi advised all students during this consultative meeting to avoid things like:
- Reproduction of materials
- Copying during tests and examinations
- To submit assignment or any other work given by lecturers on time to provide enough time for marking, and remarking if it's required.
"We are busy trying to make sure that we meet all the Quality Assurance standards and that by the end of 2008, we will have everything is in place for evaluation in the following year," said Mashigo.
Students were also advised to evaluate lecturers themselves, but with objectiveness. Mashigo also said that the university management is in the process of developing a disability policy which has to comply with the Quality Assurance Requirements and other laws and will make sure that the disabled students enjoy the same benefits and rights that the "abled students" enjoy to create quality and equality among students.
Students Career Centre will also be established in September 2007. The purpose of this Centre is to provide students with assistance on how to write their CVs, how to prepare for interviews and other related issues.
According to Prof. Kgwadi, this Center will also provide students with job placements and entrepreneurial training. He further intended to invite companies from outside to come and do "On Campus" recruitment among the final year students. "The best we can do is to market our products," said Kgwadi with a smile and confidence.
The rector is scheduled to hold a meeting with a company from Johannesburg on the 15th of September. This company intends to recruit final year students from the university for employment and experiential training."The company will provide such students will accommodation during that period, said Kgwadi.
Students were given the opportunity to ask questions during this meeting. Some questions could not be answered satisfactorily, but other matters raised by students were said to be investigated and looked at and it's then students will be provided with some answers.
In closing, the rector said that no matter what happens - eventually he is to blame for whatever happens or happened and takes full responsibility for that. He assured students that all their issues will be resolved within a short space of time.
Although other matters would be solved in such a short space - shortages of lecturers was one of the challenges that students in the Faculty of Commerce and Admin encounter, especially in the Accounting Department.
Kgwadi said that recruitment is a long process and students need to be patient because it takes about 4 to 5 months to replace a lecturer and that the university has a pressure of complying with South African labour laws. And that it only takes a months for an employee to put a notice but takes a very long time to replace such an employee and also considering the shortages of skills especially in the Accounting field.
The university promised to hold more of these meetings with students in the near future. But as to whether it will deliver of its promises remains unclear.
Maybe we should just wait and see.