Space science launches CPUT into Africa

Representatives of the Pan African University recently visited CPUT to check out the newest addition to the PAU.

A post-graduate training and research network of university nodes in five regions, supported by the African Union, the PAU was officially launched in 2011. It aims to provide opportunities for advanced graduate training and postgraduate research to high-performing African students.

Prof Tsige Gebre-Mariam, of the School of Pharmacy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and PAU programme assistant Heromen Asefa Fetale visited CPUT on a fact-finding mission. They were investigating our research policies, graduate programmes and procedures around publications as we become the southern African university institute of the PAU.

The universities which house institutions centred on different science research focus areas are deliberately spread across north, west, east, central and southern Africa and each is selected on the basis of excellence displayed in a particular science programme. CPUT’s Space Programme was what won us the opportunity to be the coordinator of the PAU Space Sciences Programme.

The other institutes which make up the PAU are:

  • PAU Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) situated at the Abou Bekr Bekaid University of Tlemcen, Algeria.
  • PAU Institute for Life and Earth Sciences (including Health and Agriculture) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
  • PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.
  • PAU Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, Kenya.

Gebre-Mariam is drawing on his experience working on research policies when he helped to found the Academy of Sciences (a Pan African organisation headquartered in Kenya which aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science, technology and innovation).

“The idea is to have a centre of excellence in each geographic location, for the knowledge it diffuses inwards,” explained Gebre-Mariam.

The various institutes are aimed at post graduate students.

“At any given time 70% of the students studying in the programme should come from countries other than the host country. Staff as well,” said Gebre-Mariam.

Written by Theresa Smith

R8 million donation to benefit students

A total of 267 CPUT students will benefit from an R8 million donation received from Absa Bank.

Using a combination of academic performance and financial need CPUT’s Financial Aid office has identified the qualifying students and will disburse the funds after a verification process has been completed.

Many of the qualifying students either have very limited financial resources or fall within the “missing middle” category of students whose parents or guardians can only afford to pay a portion of the required university fees.

The donation was accepted by former Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Volmink, who says it does not just affect the lucky students but their extended families as well.

“You must take the students you are helping then multiply it by thousands because you are creating thousands of opportunities and in fact you will never really be able to calculate the true cost because what Absa is doing is helping to break the cycle of poverty,” he says.


“CPUT attracts rural, economically challenged students who are bright. These students desire the same things that other more affluent students want but what they need most is support both emotionally and financially. That is what you are doing here today.”

The donation forms part of Barclays Africa Group’s 2017 CEO Scholarship Fund which aims to disburse R210 million which will impact around 3 000 university students across the continent. Absa Africa Head of Citizenship Sazini Mojapelo says The CEO Scholarship Fund grew exponentially since its inception in 2016 when it was only expected to affect around 200 students.


“When we saw the Fees Must Fall movement we realised that as a large corporate it was important to answer the call to action. We increased the scholarship programme from 200 to 2000 students and this year we expanded it to 3000 across the continent,” she says.

In 2017 the fund expanded to include the peer to peer mentoring programme Elevate Education which, through a series of workshops, equips students with the skills to not only survive university but to thrive too.


New academic partnership with Chinese

CPUT recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two of the top universities in the Hebei Province of China to co-operate in various academic activities.

The MoU was signed at the Bellville Campus recently during a visit by leaders of the province’s Education Department as well as the management of Hebei University of Economics and Business and Hebei University of Technology.

To welcome the Chinese to Cape Town, a delegation consisting of CPUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Prins Nevhutalu, DVC’s Anthony Staak and Chris Nhlapo, faculty deans and managers of key departments and units explained the university’s academic programmes.

The collaboration was initiative by Prof Staak, after he visited the Hebei province last year and was impressed with what he saw at their universities.

“The purpose of the meeting is to establish opportunities of collaboration and today we have people who can identify those opportunities,” says Staak.

To promote faster development of education, the Hebei Province is collaborating with over 200 educational institutions among nearly 30 countries in areas such as exchanges of lecturers and students, overseas study and scientific research.

“The Hebei Provincial Education Department commits itself to developing co-operation with foreign administrative departments and education institutions,” says Liu Jiaomin, Director General at the province’s Education Department.

Nevhutalu says in order to take the co-operation to the next level they must identify good researchers who would be willing to collaborate on various projects.

A task team composed of members from the three universities was established to identify specific activities of collaboration between the trio.