University of Western Cape’s new precinct and residence unveiled

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has unveiled the faculty of education precinct and newly built Unibell residence at the University of Western Cape.

The 2 700-bed facility started accommodating first-year students at the start of 2023. The residence is fitted with water and electricity-generating technology to shield students from loadshedding, according to the university.

Nzimande said his department will continue to prioritise infrastructure development at historically disadvantaged universities to ensure that maintenance backlogs are addressed and to improve the quality of infrastructure delivery management.

“This is among the reasons that we have reviewed our current existing model of cooperation with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to make it more effective and in line with our plans of using our PSET [post-school education and training] infrastructure to stimulate local economic development and inclusion,” said Nzimande.

“Our determination to strengthen and grow the PSET system is of late being demonstrated by our investments in the feasibility studies of new universities of science and innovation, and a new Crime Detection University through the infrastructure and efficiency grant to the value of R6-million.”

He added that both the University of the Western Cape’s projects are significant in scale and will certainly add tremendous value to the institution, its academic focus and the living and learning experience of students.

This is in line with the department’s newly designed model of education precincts that Nzimande launched in a pilot project in KwaZulu-Natal called the Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct.

According to Nzimande, the majority of public universities and technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges have not been able to make sufficient investments in the maintenance and expansion of student housing portfolios due to financial constraints.

“In order to assist them, my department established the SHIP project aimed at addressing student housing backlogs through the implementation of student housing projects that deliver more than 1 000 student beds across universities and TVET colleges,” he said.

He added that one critical element to ensure access to quality higher education and training and success in the system is an investment in student housing infrastructure to ensure quality teaching, learning and a conducive student living and learning environment.

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