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CHE > Media and Publications > Che Events Presentations > Student access and articulation
Makhapa Makhafola
September, 2005

Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science is the result of the merger between two technikons (Border and Eastern Cape Technikons) and one university (University of Transkei). The three institutions merged on 1 July 2005. WSU will be a comprehensive institution offering 70 percent technikon type and 30 percent university type programmes (DoE, 2003). It is located in the Eastern Cape Province, with campuses spread over an area of approximately 1000 kilometres with delivery sites in Buffalo City, Mthatha, Butterworth and Queenstown. WSU is a developmental university and as such is technological, scientific, innovative, and responsive (Morgan, 2005). These characteristics flow from its vision and mission.

WSU vision
WSU will be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, national, continental and international developmental priorities.

WSU mission
In pursuit of its vision as a developmental university, WSU

  • provides an educationally vibrant and enabling environment that is conducive to the advancement of quality academic, moral, cultural and technological learnercentred education for holistic intellectual empowerment, growth and effective use of information.
  • maintains the highest possible standards in innovative teaching and learnerships, basic and applied research, and community partnerships in cooperation with developmental agencies and the public and private sectors.
  • provides affordable, appropriate, career-focused and professional programme that address rural development and urban renewal, with a primary emphasis on science, technology and developmental studies.
  • creates a new generation of highly skilled graduates capable of understanding and addressing complex societal challenges, with critical scholarly and entrepreneurial attributes grounded on morally sound work ethics and responsible leadership.

The mission of the institution is in line with the national transformation policy goals. In terms of ‘fitness of purpose’ it is therefore appropriate. The programmes in the institution have been tested for compliance with the mission, using compliance instruments (11 criteria) that the institution has developed.

WSU is in the process of designing the shape of its programme qualification mix (PQM), which is guided by both the internal (vision and mission) and external imperatives(National Plan for Higher Education, DoE, 2001). One of the key goals of the National Plan (NPHE) is to increase access and improve articulation. This paper discusses both access and articulation in the new dispensation and how WSU has responded to the external imperatives. This is demonstrated in the strategic decisions that the institution has taken in responding to both the Education White Paper (3) (DoE, 1997) and the NPHE, as follows:

  • Admission strategy (Access): Develop a strategy that will allow appropriate placement for new students.
  • Throughput strategy: Develop student and academic support that will enable those students who qualify for admission to complete their programme of study.
  • Capping: Reduce current head count of 23 000 to 20 000 for the period 2005–2009.
  • Areas/Faculties: Prioritise Health Sciences; Education; Science and Engineering; Business, Management Sciences and Law; and Applied Technology.


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