R131 Million Boost for NMMU

www.MyPE.co.za: A
R131-m boost from government will see Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
University (NMMU)
further expand its infrastructure to meet the needs
of its growing student body.

This figure will also be matched by NMMU with a further R128.9m as a
signal of the institution’s commitment to the Department of Higher
Education and Training to grow areas of national priority like
engineering and education.

Derrick Swartz“We are incredibly
pleased with this grant for major investments. With
brand new facilities on our campuses, NMMU is gearing itself to offer
high quality qualifications critically needed for the economy in South
Africa,” said NMMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz.

The three-year roll-out of the combined R259.9m will begin in October,
though work on a new building to house a suite of high resolution
transmission electron microscopes (HRTEM) that will bring Africa in
line with its international nanoscience research counterparts is
already underway.

The R27m high-tech HRTEM Centre on South Campus will be followed by the
construction of a new block to meet the needs of engineering and built
environment students. Some R64.6m will be spent on a modern integrated
building for these students close to the faculty’s present buildings on
North Campus. The latter will also be upgraded to meet the anticipated
increases in student numbers in these fields.

Since 2007 initial teacher education numbers at NMMU
have ballooned by
17.7% per annum, while the number of students registering for
programmes in the built environment and pharmacy has grown by 11% and
4.2% each year over the same time period respectively.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande also approved
funding that will enable the Faculty of Education to continue to grow
its numbers.

Within the next few years, the faculty which has already outgrown its
present site will expand to also take over the adjacent Human Movement
Science (HMS) facilities, which coincidentally had originally been
earmarked for education students.

The university’s growing number of HMS and sport management students
will then, in turn, move into a new R32.2m purpose-built building close
to the university’s sporting facilities.

“These investments mean both our academics and students will have
access to state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in coming
years,” said Prof Swartz, who played a leading role in motivating for
the funding.

He said furthermore NMMU
science and pharmacy students will benefit
from an injection of almost R100m for equipment and renovation of
laboratories.

According to NMMU’s director of Strategic and Institutional Planning
Professor Heather Nel the university had been facing a replacement bill
for laboratory equipment that was well beyond its means.

“As a result, this funding is incredibly welcome. It also means more
students can be accommodated in programmes recognised as crucial by the
government,” she said.

“Fortunately our growth areas – engineering, built environment,
science, teaching and pharmacy – match the national growth priorities
too, so we have been amply rewarded with our application,” said Prof
Nel, adding that negotiations for this infrastructure and efficiency
funding had been ongoing for nearly two years already.

She said another process was underway at national level to investigate
funding models for building addition residences at universities. “This
is one of our key priorities.”

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