The inauguration of Dr Bismark Tyobeka as the third vice-chancellor of the North-West University (NWU) is the start of an exciting new journey for the university.
Dr Tyobeka, who started his five-year term as principal and vice-chancellor on 1 June 2022, was officially inaugurated on 26 August during a prestige event at the Feather Hill Hotel and Venue in Potchefstroom.
The NWU’s key stakeholders, which included its chancellor, Dr Anna Mokgokong, and representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the North West Provincial Government, attended the inauguration.
Consolidation of successes and repositioning for new opportunities
Dr Tyobeka says that since the inception of the NWU the university has lived up to the demands and expectations of its stakeholders.
“However, we can do more. We are poised to achieve even more and to continue to play a key role in finding solutions for societal problems to unlock opportunities for our stakeholders. Therefore, we must strengthen our resolve to be an internationally recognised university in Africa, distinguished for engaged scholarship, academic excellence and an ethic of care.”
He says the inauguration marks the start of a journey that will be characterised by the consolidation of the NWU’s successes and the repositioning the university to explore new frontiers and opportunities – nationally and internationally.
Focus on key issues
According to Dr Tyobeka, the focus in the medium to long term will be on a few key issues. These include plans to raise funds for the missing middle and postgraduate students as a means to intensify the NWU’s contribution towards building a knowledge economy.
He says other focus areas include increasing graduate employability and entrepreneurship development, the decolonisation of the curriculum and the sustained impact on the NWU’s research and community engagement programmes.
The NWU will also place emphasis on internationalisation and Africanisation, strategic collaboration initiatives towards improving food security within North West, exploring the feasibility of a school of mines and mining engineering, and deploying innovative solutions towards energy and water security on the university’s campuses.
Public-private partnerships, the diversification of income streams, internal staff cost optimisation to enable the NWU to recruit and retain scarce skills, the establishment of medical and veterinary schools and improving the quality of student leadership will also get preference during his tenure.
“We wish to make an impactful contribution towards building the capacity of the state, including through the partnerships that we have recently been involved in, such as the one we have with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)*. Strengthening relations and cooperation with local government will also receive our special attention.”
Development of indigenous languages
Dr Tyobeka says the NWU will invest more funding in developing Setswana, Sesotho and isiZulu to the level of maturity as languages of instruction.
“The NWU remains a niche destination for Afrikaans-speaking students who seek quality education in their mother tongue – probably the last remaining destination of its kind.”
Dr Tyobeka points out that while others may view this as a threat and an aberration of the university’s transformation efforts, the NWU views it as an opportunity to demonstrate that transformation does not equal the extinction of indigenous South African languages, of which Afrikaans is one.
“Our transformation and decolonisation efforts must use the Afrikaans language as a benchmark to prop up other languages, as was mentioned. This is possible as long as we do not use any of these languages, Afrikaans included, as barriers to access and inclusion.”
He says the language policy that the NWU adopted a few years ago during his tenure as chairperson of Council clearly sets out how the NWU’s functional multilingualism should enable access and inclusion, instead of impeding it.
Mr Bert Sorgdrager, chairperson of the NWU Council, congratulated Dr Tyobeka and said that his appointment as principal and vice-chancellor is well deserved and comes at the right time to put the NWU on a new trajectory.
Dr Bismark Tyobeka was inaugurated as vice-chancellor by Prof Marlene Verhoef, registrar of the NWU.
The academic procession leaves the hall after the inauguration of Dr Bismark Tyobeka.
Dr Bismark Tyobeka is the North-West University’s newly inaugurated principal and vice-chancellor.
For a video and high-resolution photos click here.
To read more visit:
- Read the full speech Dr Bismark Tyobeka gave during the inauguration here.
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