Charting the way: Sarah Matseke on how we can help transform UP

Posted on September 20, 2018

UP recently released a Transformation Charter (TC), aimed at simplifying the university’s strategies around the ongoing transformation project. Tukkievaria sat down with Sarah Matseke, Acting Manager: Transformation and Strategic Projects, who explained how the TC furthers the university’s commitment to a transformed campus and country.

What is the Transformation Charter, and why was it necessary?

The TC is a summarised version of the university’s Institutional Transformation Plan and Transformation Charter documents. It’s a shorter, easier-to-read version, thereby making the contents of the ITC and Transformation Plan more accessible. Our hope is that the TC will encourage staff to provide feedback that will assist in promoting transformation across UP.

How well do you think UP is doing in terms of our transformation policy?

UP has come a long way since the days of its founding as the Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College in 1908, when it opened with 32 white students. At that time English was the language of instruction. Afrikaans became the second language of instruction in 1917. Thirteen years later, an act of Parliament established the TUC as the University of Pretoria. From 1932, Afrikaans became the sole medium of instruction, and after the first democratic elections of 1994, English was made the second language of instruction. In 2017, the UP Council approved English as the language of instruction from 2019. Today, the University of Pretoria has more than 50,000 students across nine faculties – the majority of whom are black and female.

How can UP staff help achieve the TC’s goals in our daily functioning and interactions?

Each staff member can help by raising concerns. If you see issues that do not line up with our TC, the onus is on each of us to feed through our concerns to our various transformation committees seated within our respective departments. The TC is a statement of commitment of and for all staff members. As staff, we are the ones that must ultimately drive transformation.

How does the TC incorporate the university’s Vision 2025 goals?

We regard transformation as an integral part of the university’s vision, mission and operations. Vision 2025 sets out UP’s strategic goals, and the TC directs the strategies that will lead us to accomplishing our goals for 2025. In a nutshell, the TC focuses our commitment to transformation on the steps we need to take to continue to transform ourselves.

UP’s transformation-specific goals can be summarised as follows:

  • To ensure access to a diverse student body, reflective of the demographic mix and social complexity of South Africa. 
  • To significantly  reduce  and ultimately eliminate differential student success and graduation rates based on race, gender, class and other critical variables.
  • To ensure the realisation of employment equity as set in the University’s Employment Equity Plan.
  • To enhance research capacity and productivity of black and women academics.
  • To engender institutional cultures and practices that are welcoming to students and staff from diverse socio-economic  and cultural backgrounds.
  • To ensure that the University has impact on the social and economic well-being of South African society.
- Author Myan Subrayan

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