On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.114 n.4 Johannesburg Apr. 2014
MQA gives Wits University over R20 million
17March 2014 - Johannesburg: The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) handed over a cheque for more than R20 million to Wits University on Friday, 14 March 2014. The money will go towards support for seven lecturers in mining engineering and bursaries for 236 students in the following disciplines: analytical, chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, metallurgical, and mining engineering, and geology.
The Head of the School of Mining Engineering, Professor Fred Cawood, said the long-standing partnership between Wits and the MQA dated back to 2005 and had strengthened to the point where it was valued at such a significant sum of money. 'This commitment speaks volumes about the MQA and sets an example for other SETAs', he said.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits, Professor Adam Habib, echoed Cawood's opinion that the MQA had set an example for other industries, and reminded those present that the historical disenfranchisement of some South Africans had created enormous levels of inequality that could only be addressed through collective action.
'The VC can no longer say that his responsibilities end at the gates of the university. The CEO can no longer say that his responsibilities end with the company's shareholders. How we begin to bridge institutional boundaries has become important. This partnership with the MQA is testimony to what can be done', said Habib.
The total amount of the partnership is R23 592 113.03. The total amount of support for lecturers is R4 624 113.03, and the total amount to be given in bursaries is R18 868 000.00.
Habib said the bursaries, to be given to disadvantaged students, would send a powerful message of hope to the poor that talented people have access to one of the best universities in the country, and that the support that would be given to lecturers was an investment in the creation of a new black professoriate.
R100 000 will be used to support students whose studies are being affected because they can't afford necessities such as spectacles. The MQA also supports the kitchen project, which feeds students who can't afford lunch. Cawood said the School had seen an almost 99% success rate in students who had been assisted in this manner.
The CFO of the MQA, Yunus Omar, told student and staff representatives from Wits that the MQA was comprised of people who had been in their shoes. 'They know what the students and lecturers are going through', he said.