The recent signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the USA-based Academic Partnerships Agency in Texas, Dallas, will pave the way for a pilot project in Africa, and more specifically at TUT, to accommodate students to enrol for study on an online platform from August 2017.
The plan is to start small and gradually add courses to the academic mix. Statistics have shown that Public Management and Education are by far the most popular courses at TUT, therefore these courses were selected to be first to be offered on the online platform. In close second position is Engineering, that is expected to become part of the mix very soon.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Lourens van Staden, accompanied by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching, Learning and Technology, Prof Stanley Mukhola, signed the MoA that will enable the University to basically double the number of students who can enrol for study at TUT. In addition, the online platform might just be the solution to decrease the large numbers of students who annually walk onto campuses country wide to submit late applications for study.
Prof Mukhola explained that TUT was selected for its reputation as the leading University of Technology, to become one of the APA’s partners.
He said that APA will work closely with the University to ensure compliance with TUT Policies as well as Branding and Corporate Identity requirements. In addition, the APA will be responsible for the marketing of courses, training of staff on the online content, tracking the progress of students as well as counselling students, should they require it. A steering committee, under the leadership of the APA Director, will soon be convened and in terms of the MoA the Director, who will be based in Sandton, will visit TUT weekly.
In conclusion Prof Mukhola said, although fees still have to be finalised, this will be a more cost-effective mode of study for students, since they can do it from the comfort of their own homes. The university will also investigate the possibility that these students can apply for NSFAS funding.
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