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Monday, 22 May 2023

Fundani and DVC send salutations to nGAP scholars

PROUD MOMENT: CPUT celebrates scholars on their successful completion of the prestigious New Generation of Academics Programme. PROUD MOMENT: CPUT celebrates scholars on their successful completion of the prestigious New Generation of Academics Programme.

Fundani Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof Rishidaw Balkaran, extended their salutations to scholars on their successful completion of the “prestigious” New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP).

The nGap is a University Capacity Development Programme funded programme offered by the Department of Higher Education and Training. “The CPUT Scholars who have been recruited into the programme are considered highly capable individuals who are supported as new academics in the academy said Fundani CHED Director, Dr Xena Cupido.

Balkaran said: the nGap, currently the largest programme of its kind, is aligned to the Staffing South Africa's Universities Framework (SSAUF), to assist in advancing the national transformative agenda. “At Fundani CHED we are immensely proud of the nGap scholars recruited into the programme across the eight phases at CPUT. As we successfully complete Phase 1 of the programme, we extend our congratulations to scholars on this remarkable achievement.

“We will continue to create a nurturing and supportive environment, ensuring that scholars receive the necessary resources to achieve a successful outcome.”

Balkaran also extended his congratulatory message, saying: “We are very proud of the achievements of the CPUT nGap scholars”. He said being selected into “this prestigious programme is a testament to the exceptional academic abilities, dedication, and hard work”.

He said: “Most importantly, embarking on this transformative journey will not only shape the life of the scholar but also contribute to the betterment of society, by giving back through the pursuit of knowledge and learning which will make a positive impact on communities, both locally and globally.”

One of the scholars, Dr Motsoko Makhetha, said the recognition serves as a reflection on his journey in the nGAP since joining on a full-time permanent academic position as a lecturer in Product and Industrial Design department in the Faculty of Informatics and Design (FID) at CPUT.

“I was fortunate enough to have a mentor (Prof Andre Van Graan) for my first four years of the programme. I am grateful for his selfless mentorship without even claiming a cent from his budgeted line item because he felt that mentorship programmes should be a normal practice by universities for skills transfer in any case. Prof Van Graan had just retired when he became my mentor and I believe coming from a different department from mine enabled fair discussions between us about navigating university structures, requirements of an academic and preparation on how to handle office politics,” said Makhetha.

He also had the opportunity to participate in some of the national research goals through his research, which formed part of the collaboration with various universities, aerospace and medical companies in South Africa through the Collaborative Programme in Additive Manufacturing (CPAM), which is aimed at qualifying additively manufactured parts for industry application while strengthening links between research and these industries.

Dr Mkhululi Mnguni, another recipient of the nGAP scholarships in the year 2016, who participated for a full six years expressed his gratitude to nGAP for providing him with the opportunity to be part of the Phase 1 nGAP at the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering (DEECE), in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE).

“My first three years were difficult because it was a development phase in which I required mentoring, teaching, and research development. I was expected to take a reduced teaching load, however, that was not the case for me. So, I had to work harder to achieve my objectives. The last three years (phase 2) was much better because the part was for Induction and early career development, and I was also done with my studies. So, I had enough time to focus on my career development.

“Therefore, I want to personally thank the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and CPUT for helping make it possible for me to pursue my dream of becoming a Doctor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering.”

He said the contribution of the nGAP scholarship allowed him to become an excellent lecturer and scholar. He said the programme has also helped him to achieve the 15 papers published recognised journals that are “DHET accredited and produced one doctor and seven Master’s students”.

“I hope to continue to give back to the university by helping the student to reach their educational goals through scholarships such as nGAP. I would recommend that DHET continues with this excellent programme, and thank you for the opportunity, highly appreciated.”

The other lecturers were Dr Vusi Mshayisa, Dr Sacha West, Dr Morakane Khaledi and Dr Maphelo Malgas, who has since left CPUT.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce