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Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology

21/05/2013

 

During the month of March, Human Set­tlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has launched the country’s first Chair for Education in Human Settlements Devel­opment and Management at NMMU in March.

 

The launch of the four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Human Settlements is ex­pected to contribute an important body of knowledge towards finding solutions to tackle the challenges facing the sector.

 

The degree will ensure that graduates who enter the profession understand the key issues and debates in the sector and are competent to implement policies and solutions.

 

“This degree will create academic oppor­tunities, beyond debates and discussions for serious formal scholarly discourse, research, specialist knowledge skills and development for sustainable Human Settlements in South Africa said Minister Sexwale.

 

“The structure of the Human Settlements Development Degree course is designed in a way that is organic and evolutionary, bearing in mind that in our fast changing world of high technologies, particularly in­formatics, the course offered may have to adapt to new demands from time to time,” he said.

 

Matriculants and those interested in spe­cialising in Human Settlements will be able to study for this degree at NMMU from 2014.

 

Speaking at the launch, Professor Kobus van Wyk, the head of the degree pro­gramme at the university described the initiative as a dream coming true. “Have you ever dreamt a dream for 20 years and it comes true. This has one ma­jor aim that is to improve people’s lives”.

 

Prof. Van Wyk added that the decision to initiate the degree came after a careful consideration and realisation that South Africa needed a focused intervention if the country was to effectively deal with the is­sues of poverty and homelessness.

 

He said international research had indi­cated that about 8-million of the 1.2-billion people living in informal settlements or slums in the world were in South Africa. “I hope that this degree, with the body of knowledge that we will share, will some­how make a huge contribution,” he said.