On Monday, the University of Johannesburg’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala was trending on Twitter for tweeting:
“Can an engineering graduate who completed a 4-year degree in 7 years, possibly be a good engineer? The same logic applies to other disciplines.”
Can an engineering graduate who completed a 4-year degree in 7 years, possibly be a good engineer? The same logic applies to other disciplines.
— Tshilidzi Marwala (@txm1971) March 17, 2021
He joined Kaya Breakfast to give context to his utterances, which angered many students on social media, particularly due to the timing of his post.
Not all university students finish on time
Marwala explained that his post was based on commonly known statistics. His objective was to raise the alarm on the fact that academic institutions need to find ways of improving academic performance.
“I think we should just understand the statistics, only 30% of students who come to our University system actually complete on time. In fact after 10 years of coming to University only 65% actually, graduate at all.”
Graduation rate is lower than the dropout rate
Though there are economic pressures facing students in South Africa, he asserted that we need to go back to why we have university.
“The whole point of coming to University is to learn, and what we have to do as educators is creating a climate for student to learn.”
On the ongoing protests happening in the country with students requesting for higher institutions of learning to scrap historical debt, Marwala said that with the state of our economy it will be a very difficult problem to solve.
“We received 250 000 applications for 10 000 spaces, 99,5% were returning students. We do need to deal with this issue of student debt. At the University of Johannesburg we are talking about half-a-Billion rand… this is something that needs to be tackled.”