Ekurhuleni needs university to drive local economy – mayor

Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina addresses stakeholders at the University Symposium.

Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, first explained the rationale behind a planned university in the East Rand.

The event was also attended by various public figures such as MEC for education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi; deputy minister in the presidency, Buti Manamela, and EMM economic development department head, Caiphus Chauke.

Masina said that although it was still in the early planning phases, the Ekurhuleni Applied Sciences and Technology University (EAST-U) would feed the economy and will help citizens adapt to “the fourth industrial revolution”, which will see traditional industrial jobs disintegrate. He added that new jobs would be established as needed – specifically technology-based ones.

He also said it would be a solution for much-needed skills development in one of the main manufacturing regions in South Africa.

According to Masina, Ekurhuleni is one of only two metros that do not have a tertiary education institution to help drive the economy.

He said the 2011 census indicated that only four per cent of Ekurhuleni citizens have a tertiary education, but claims that since then that figure had risen to 14 per cent.

He said the 10 per cent increase was due to a combination of bursaries from EMM and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) He also used these figures to indicate the vast potential a university in the area presents.

Chauke stated that technology will be the main driver in the economy.

He argued that the youth need a platform to develop skills in multi-faceted disciplines and that a technology oriented university will serve that purpose.

Chauke said: “60 to 70 per cent of all jobs will be lost during the fourth industrial revolution and 65 per cent of our current Grades Ones will be expected to do jobs that do not exist yet.”

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  AUTHOR
Johané Turkstra

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