UMP recently hosted two seminars by Malaysian academics: Professor Chong Aik Lee presented on the Impact of Industrial Revolution 4.0 on Future Jobs and Dr Angelina Seow Voon Yee spoke on Commercialisation Pathway: How to Translate Research Outcomes to Commercial.
Dr Yee highlighted how universities today are faced with the challenge of constantly having to evolve while their traditional role as generators, repositories and disseminators of knowledge and learning is being reworked on a global basis.
“The commercialisation of research (whether in the form of new companies, joint ventures or licensing to existing companies) – does offer promise. Thus, the commercialisation of the outputs of research is a small component of the many ways in which universities can contribute towards economic and social benefit,” she said.
She further said that universities have a larger responsibility and should look to translating their knowledge into new products and processes that benefit society.
“At Nottingham we are drawing on alumni and friends of the University to create Nottingham Angels. Investors invest above all in strong management teams – not just good technologies.”
Dr Yee has presented her research findings for policy development at many national and international conferences and is the co-author of the book: Auditing Principles and Assurance Services, Malaysia published by CCH Malaysia.
She also contributes to international journal publications and conferences as part of her scholarly activities. She is a corporate trainer and has a large industry network with mainly small and medium sized Malaysian companies – a network she bas built up through her working experience and research activities.
@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @Chrisplphoto
After successful registrations and welcoming ceremonies held for students and their parents or guardians, I would like to assure all new learners that choosing UMP was definitely the right choice.
A courtesy visit from the Mpumalanga Provincial Government, led by the MEC of Education in the province, Mr Bonakele Majuba, ended registrations off on a high note.
The purpose of the visit to the Mbombela campus was for the MEC to show support for the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, to develop relations, and to start building on future collaborations that will help the university succeed for generations to come.
The University of Mpumalanga Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso and her management team hosted the MEC and his delegation. Professor Mayekiso presented the university’s journey and the success the institution has achieved since its inception – from increasing student intake numbers to adding more study programmes, as well as the formidable partnerships the university has formed with local and international stakeholders.
UMP started with only six programmes and today offers 26, five of which were added this year. The Vice Chancellor also noted that UMP has registered almost 87% of students from the province and majority of the registered students are female. This growth does not happen in isolation, and partnerships are vital. As can be seen and proven through the university’s healthy relationship with provincial government.
The Mpumalanga Provincial Government has over the years contributed to the growth of the university, contributing 77% of its Funza Lushaka Bursary allocations to the foundation students studying Bachelor of Education (BeD), teaching in SiSwati and IsiNdebele indigenous languages and later Sepedi.
MEC Mr Bonakele Majuba said: “The Mpumalanga Department of Education has contributed to the growth of the university through its Fundza Lushaka Bursary Aid. More bursaries are allocated to students pursuing programmes that are aligned with the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Path.
He further added that the department is committed to supporting the university in any which way possible. “My key personal interest is in teacher development. There is still more to be done in this area. This visit is to confirm our availability at the department and to say that – you should not feel alone in this enormous journey we have undertaken to grow this university.”
He added that for the first time Mpumalanga Province recorded 47% candidates who met the requirements to undertake bachelor studies, which is why more than 85% of students have registered at UMP.
The MEC expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for the incredible progress she has shown in building the university, in demonstrating excellent leadership and in steering the university towards becoming a world-class institution.
“I would like to appreciate the wonderful job you have done by admitting more students from our province. I am encouraged by the work that has gone into making UMP the great institution it is. The proximity of our offices must enable us to enhance all progressive collaborations. We are a stone’s throw away therefor we can close ranks from time to time for mutual benefit.”
The visit was concluded with a tour, led by Professor Mayekiso, of the university’s iconic buildings, the state-of-the art libray and information services centre, the laboratories, on-campus accommodation and other facilities.
@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @Chrisplphoto
If you’ve attended orientation it must be quite clear that you’ve chosen the right university. In case you missed it, here is why you’ve chosen the best place to further your education, and how to make the most of student life.
The academic year was kicked off with a jam-packed orientation week that was held at the Mbombela campus. The key message: The development of well-rounded and successful students is at the core of UMP’s approach.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso opened orientation week with sage advice students would do well to follow.
Participation is key
Professor Mayekiso urged the new learners to be active participants in the orientation programme, which is coordinated to assist them with their transition from high school to university.
But participation is not only important during the programme, it’s important in every aspect of student life. You have to be actively involved and participate in your studies, your lectures, your extramural activities, and even socially. This will help you develop in every aspect, that is, holistically, which is another key aspect of the university’s approach.
Grow as you go
The Vice-Chancellor said the university of Mpumalanga provides learners with a positive and enriching environment. “We are committed to the holistic development of our students and hope that your years at the university will be productive, pleasurable, and memorable. Your time at UMP will determine your future role in this country, this continent and on this beautiful planet.”
“We aim to offer high quality educational and training opportunities that foster the holistic development of students through teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and engagement in collaboration with strategic partners.”
Use every opportunity
Professor Mayekiso further assured the new students that UMP provides students with a rich array of social and academic opportunities, which connects students with one another as well as with academic support staff.
“At UMP we provide you with an enriching environment so that you learn to take charge of your destinies and become active, accountable – and perhaps more importantly – happy role players in forging your future.”
Strive for excellence
The University places a high premium on excellence and also rewards it in kind. “As the UMP community, we are creating and nurturing a modern, stimulating and inspiring environment that promotes and rewards excellence,” she said.
“Excellence allows us to operate at our highest and best, and therefore eliminates mediocrity. Excellence makes you achieve, it helps you to develop confidence, and a hunger for more achievements,” she added. “Excellence is like a good habit and it should be cultivated and nurtured in order for it to thrive within individuals. Excellence therefore, requires of us to be persistent and consistent.”
The Vice-Chancellor emphasised that one of the easiest ways for students to hasten their development was by finding their purpose early. “Keep the primary focus on why you are here: to earn a qualification and prepare yourselves to serve society. Know that there is no substitute for hard work; and be consistent all the time. At University, you cannot afford to work in stops and starts. Push yourselves beyond your limits and rise to the best that lies within you.”
The week-long orientation programme was organised by the student affairs division. The main aim was to empower students with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate student life, help them to familiarise themselves with UMP rules and regulations, receive career counselling, as well as where to go for academic support and student wellness as a whole.
@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures @Chrisplphoto
The University of Mpumalanga management has sworn into office members of the 2019/20 SRC and CRCs during the SRC Investiture ceremony, which was recently held at the Mbombela campus.
The investiture, the official ceremony of the university which concludes the process of electing student leadership, is the fifth since the university’s inception in 2014.
Speaking at the event, Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso marked the ceremony as special and acknowledged the very crucial role the SRC/CRC has to play in the healthy functioning of student and university life. “Whilst it is salient to comply with the Higher Education Act, and the statute of the university, we move from the deep conviction that the representation of students is central to how we conduct business, we believe in working collaboratively with the SRC, to ensure that the needs of our students are duly articulated, and met.”
She further said that the university management is expecting the SRC/CRCs to serve students and UMP to the best of their abilities. “It is important that you continue to earn that trust, and to fulfil the mandate you have accepted. I look forward to a great year of working together with you to make UMP function at its highest and its best, in line with our vision: to be An African university leading in creating opportunities for sustainable development through innovation.”
Lead by example; work as a team
Professor Mayekiso emphasised that the SRC and CRCs should lead by example and that they should perform well academically and, thus, be exemplary to other students.
“Your academic performance is going to set a tone for the rest of the students that you lead. You are urged to lead by example. It will be so gratifying to see you do well in your studies. Other students will feel inspired by your success. They will find it easy to follow leaders who are doing well academically. Leaders who take their own studies seriously,” she said.
The Vice-Chancellor furthermore had this advice for the student leadership: “Whenever you face complex challenges, make it your business to work as a team of leaders, in order to solve them. When there is unity among you, strength will automatically follow. Engage with one another, be creative and innovative in your problem solving, and you will crack situations which at first seem impossible.”
Engage and empower
The SRC President, Mr Comfort Msimango, delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of the members of the SRC/CRCs. He committed the SRC and the CRCs to serve the students of UMP with all their ability.
Msimango promised that the SRC will continuously engage the Management of the university at all times in order to find amicable solutions to any issues that may need the attention of both parties. The Investiture was a huge success.
The highlight of the ceremony was when the SRC/CRC leadership took the taking of Oath of Office by all the SRC/CRCs members when they committed themselves to the following Statements of Oath:
• To serve the interests of the students of the University of Mpumalanga.
• To uphold the constitution of the SRC.
• To accept and respect the majority decisions of the SRC.
• To do their utmost best at all times in promoting unity within the ranks of the SRC.
• To promote respect for fellow students, staff, visitors, university property, and the image of the university.
• To uphold the university’s rules and regulations at all times.
Closing the ceremony, Professor Mayekiso wished the new student leadership well. “Our wish as management is that you should be known as the SRC/CRCs that contributed to peace and stability at UMP. Always remember that you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. You can’t have it both ways,” she added.
“You are setting the tone, for generations of students yet to come, during the most challenging of times. Hence, we at UMP are providing you with support to empower you, so as to understand yourselves better, and to deal with a dynamic, fast-changing world with equanimity, tranquillity and with grace and decorum.”
The investiture was attended by all 14 members of the CRCs from both the Siyabuswa and Mbombela campuses, university management and some staff members.
@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures @Chrisclphoto
UMP has become the number one choice for students. This was evident during this year’s registrations, which showed that 87% of the province’s students registered at the institution.
Newcomer Tebogo Makoa, 20, has just been accepted to study at UMP, and he couldn’t be happier. Studying towards a Bachelor of Science degree, he is originally from Joburg and says his brother convinced him to choose the University of Mpumalanga.
“I’m a first-year BSc student. This degree was my first choice and I’m grateful I was accepted. Before coming here I was studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at Rhodes University. “Last year while working as an assistant pharmacist, my brother convinced me to come to the University of Mpumalanga as he also completed his qualification here. I never expected the university to be this beautiful. Student life here is pretty amazing and so far I’m loving everything I see.”
Streamlined processes and programmes
The university has closed registrations and Registrar Mr Sello Legodi says they are very satisfied with the number the students who have registered – far exceeding their expected target number.
Not only was the registration process streamlined with online applications, which reduced the number of actual queues during registration week, but the new study programmes offered proved to be very popular as well.
“This year we hardly had any long queues as most of our applications and registrations were done online. The paperwork was minimal and we managed to get 80% online applications and 20% manual. Next year we are aiming for 100% online applications.
“The most popular programmes are always Bachelor of Arts and the Diploma in Hospitality. What surprised us this year, however, was the Diploma in Animal Production, which just blew up! It was the most popular one among all the new programmes we have on offer this year,” Mr Legodi said.
“Our infrastructure is aligned to our strategic vision and goal. So we won’t introduce new programmes without actually having enough resources. We start by getting resources and then start to push the programmes when the resources are in good shape,” said Mr Legodi. Another student who believes he has made the right decision by registering at UMP is Celokuhle Zwane who hails from Vryheid in
“The university is beautiful and they really take care of their students. They make us feel at home and help us every time we need assistance. I chose to study Bachelor of Arts at UMP because it was my first choice and it’s what I love. I’d like to complete my degree and continue with my studies until I get a doctorate and become a lecturer at UMP,” he said.
Mr Legodi says the highlight of the registrations was a visit from MEC for Education, Mr Bonakele Majuba, who came to learn about the new programmes, discuss funding of students, and future admissions. The plan is to start working together as the department has many schools that could feed new students to the university.
One student who is embracing UMP’s values: diversity, excellence, inspiration and adaptability, is Venetia Mgiba who is currently working as an English teacher at a private school in Shenzhen, China.
Venetia describes herself as young ambitious woman with her heart set on travelling and exploring new cultures and languages. She shares how UMP gave her the edge to pursue her dreams, what it’s like living in a foreign country, and her future plans.
What influenced your move to work in China?
After a few unsuccessful attempts at finding a suitable job in South Africa, I decided to venture further and seek employment elsewhere. Because I’ve always dreamed of travelling and seeing the world, I chose to see the lack of opportunity in South Africa as a golden opportunity to spread my wings beyond our borders.
During my time at UMP, I never fully had my mind set on a specific career. I chose to study Agricultural Extension because I thought I’d be interested in the degree. Having obtained it, I’ve come to realise it’s not really for me. My degree, however, came to be of great use when applying for an English teaching job abroad. All that was required of me was to complete a 120-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course and I was set on my way.
How did you find the adaption between South Africa and Asia?
There is a very strong contingent of South Africans and other westerners here in China; I’d say that always helps. I would also add that the way China is portrayed in the media is very different from actual life here. What I would have expected upon arriving was totally different from the reality.
My ability to adapt has also been aided by the fact that I am paid very well, live a good life, and the cost of living is low. My advice to anyone seeking work abroad is to have an open mind and embrace the experience.
How did studying at UMP help you make the move?
The major values I’ve learnt at UMP would be inspiration, adaptability and diversity. They’ve most certainly shaped my life as a UMP graduate. The lesson is to not be afraid to spread your wings if the opportunity presents itself; be open-minded and take that first step, but don’t stop there. Continue to better yourself through education, business and whatever door may be opened for you along the way.
You seem to enjoy China. Describe a typical day in your life.
Living in China is a daily adventure filled with smiles and hugs from my students. I get up every morning at 8am, have a cup of coffee with some homemade South African breakfast, and head out for my first class at 10:00am.
I might buy fruit along the way, while passing through some great street markets. I then begin my class with warm greetings from my students and teacher’s assistant. After a good day of teaching and learning a few Mandarin phrases from my students, I meet up with some foreign and local friends for delicious Jiao zi (Chinese dumplings) at a local restaurant.
Besides working as a teacher, what else are you doing?
I recently completed two English Grammar TKTs (Teaching Knowledge Tests) with Cambridge Assessments. And I am currently studying towards my teaching license with an American College. After getting my teaching license I hope to get into an International school, which will allow me to work anywhere else in the world.
Will you come back home?
Eventually, but I currently have my heart set on the UK. I’d like to retire in South Africa one day, and I try to come home at least once a year. South Africa is very unique, from just everyday greetings amongst strangers on the streets, to the beauty of our indigenous fauna and flora. I do miss home!
@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures supplied by Venetia Mgiba.
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