UP and Mining Qualifications Authority strengthen relations

Posted on March 28, 2024

The University of Pretoria (UP) and the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) recently convened to reinforce their longstanding partnership, and discuss strategies to improve financial aid for students, address various obstacles and improve academic success rates.

UP Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Themba Mosia led a delegation of senior officials from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology and the Finance Department for a meeting with Dr Thabo Mashongoane, Chief Executive of the MQA, and representatives from various departments at the authority.

Since 2020, the MQA has invested about R31 million to fund 322 students at UP. The University allocates accommodation to MQA students at its residences, and permits them to register before payment of registration and tuition fees are made.

“As a university deeply committed to the holistic well-being of our students, we go beyond academic achievements, to address their psycho-social, nutritional and safety needs,” Prof Mosia said. “It’s encouraging to receive guests from the MQA, which is seeking to support and enhance our efforts. This reaffirms that we have forged a partnership with an organisation that is genuinely concerned about its bursary recipients and which is willing to go the extra mile to boost university success rates for the betterment of the industry.”

During the visit, Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, retiring Head of UP’s Department of Mining Engineering (standing in for Prof Francois Malan), showcased UP’s Kumba Virtual Reality Centre, a world-class hub that enhances education, training and research in operational risk across industries by making use of an innovative approach to information optimisation and visualisation.

“The purpose of this visit was to engage at a strategic level,” Dr Mashongoane said. “We have been partnering with the University for several years, but more often than not, it was at administration and management levels. We realised that the Vice-Chancellor and management may not be aware of the kind of opportunities that exist from MQA’s side in terms of the support we can give to the University. Additionally, we wanted to learn from the University, to ask whether there are any policy gaps and what we can learn, then going back to our boardrooms to review our policies, all in an effort to strengthen our support to UP.”

The MQA is committed to supporting the objectives outlined in the National Skills Development Plan 2020 – 2030 and the Mining Charter, as guided by the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act No. 29 of 1996. It administers various development initiatives, including skills programmes and apprenticeships, aimed at fostering a skilled and educated workforce. These initiatives align with the National Qualifications Framework to ensure that the mining and minerals sector has an adequate number of competent individuals capable of enhancing health and safety, promoting employment equity, and increasing productivity.

- Author James Mahlokwane

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