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INTERVIEW

Developing local intellectual capacity Prof Yunus Ballim, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Sol Plaatje University, outlines the way forward. What are your goals as VC and Principal?

Yunus Ballim

Our intentions in these early years has been to develop and consolidate a good foundation in the essential areas to sustain a university in the long term: • Academic activities: qualifications to be offered, research, learning and teaching, academic staff • Institutional capacity: governance structures and administrative support arrangements • Infrastructure: properly constructed buildings with sufficient space to accommodate growth plans. We have also focused on developing partnerships with social and government institutions in the city and the province. What is it like to work in award-winning buildings?

BIOGRAPHY Yunus Ballim holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in civil engineering, a National Research Foundation rating and a personal professorship in Civil Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. At Wits he served as Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice-Principal. He was awarded the Bram Fisher-Oxford Fellowship in 2000 and has been Chair of the Higher Education Quality Council. Yunus chairs the Transformation Strategy Group of Universities South Africa. NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2019/20

We have worked hard to ensure we have structures and buildings that are conducive to working and learning and this seems to have been successful to date. Our idea of using our infrastructure development project to also reflect the future ambitions of the city of Kimberley has been well reflected in the architecture and artwork on our buildings, giving a strong sense of place in Kimberley and the Northern Cape. It is exciting to be in these buildings. With the landmark passed of SPU’s first BEd graduates, what lies ahead? We also produced the first BSc, BA, BCom and BSc (Data Science) graduates in 2018 as other important academic landmarks. The next landmarks will be our first postgraduate students, particularly those from our planned programme in Creative Writing in African Languages and academic qualifications in agricultural sciences. What links does SPU have with the SKA project? Our Data Science programmes were specifically started to develop the local intellectual capacity to contribute to the collection and analysis of large data sets such as that to be generated at the SKA. Our hope is that, when the SKA is fully functional in 2025, some of our graduates will hold doctoral degrees and be contributing to the SKA activities. Furthermore, we are in discussion with provincial government to establish the SPU Knowledge Hub for Rural Development near Carnarvon. This will bring a stronger community link to the general scientific and knowledge development activities in the area.

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Profile for Global Africa Network

Northern Cape Business 2019/20 edition  

Since its launch in 2009, Northern Cape Business has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Northern Cape Pr...

Northern Cape Business 2019/20 edition  

Since its launch in 2009, Northern Cape Business has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Northern Cape Pr...

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