(Published - 20 November 2019)
The annual Vision 2030 Awards have announced their 2019 finalists, honouring organisations and individuals that are actively demonstrating alignment to the government's National Development Plan - organisations like the University of the Western Cape.
“At UWC, we share the NDP’s aim of ensuring that every South African attains a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality,” says Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor. “We do this not only by producing world-class research that transforms lives, but by developing new generations of leaders who will go on to be the teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs and more that society needs.”
The annual Vision 2030 Awards honour the achievements and share the success stories of organisations, enterprises and individuals that are actively demonstrating alignment to the government's Nine-Point Plan to boost economic growth and achieve the milestones set by the National Development Plan (NDP).
UWC has been nominated as a finalist for the Education & Skills Development award, which recognises organisations that demonstrate commitment to the national vision for education and successful outcomes, and have programmes that support youth development, childhood development, basic education, and further education and training, or higher education.
The core elements of a decent standard of living identified in the NDP are:
- Housing, water, electricity and sanitation
- Safe and reliable public transport
- Quality education and skills development
- Safety and security
- Quality health care
- Social protection
- Recreation and leisure
- Clean environment
- Adequate nutrition
The NDP vision spells out several challenges facing South Africa, from failing public health services to corruption, to the divided nature of the country. But the two most critical and interrelated elements are poor education standards and the lack of jobs.
“The future resides with the youth,” says Dr Elizabeth Archer, of UWC’s Institutional Planning Unit. “Our education system is an avenue to bring about awareness, and change. Plans don’t fail because of the quality of the plans - the NDP is lauded as one of the best in the world. But what is missing is the active citizenship, and the will - for the youth to lead us into the future.”
Dr Archer would know: she was part of a team of top-notch UWC researchers - including Professor Rouaan Maarman, Professor Juliana Smith, Professor Bhekumusa Khuzwayo and former UWC Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian O’Connell - on an extensive survey of more than 50 000 Grade 12 learners in the Western Cape, examining their awareness and understanding of the NDP.
The results were published as a booklet, The Power of a Nexus in South Africa: National Development Plan Survey, which is available online. The team are working with the National Planning Commission and extending their support to the Department of Basic Education to help inform the youth and citizens of the socio-economic development for South Africa.
“South Africa has a problem: we have an excellent National Development Plan that serves as a blueprint for how South Africa can reduce inequality and abolish poverty by 2030,” Dr Archer adds. “But most people don’t actually know much about it - and if we don’t know about it, how can it possibly work?”
UWC: From Hope To Excellence Through Knowledge
With over 20 000 students in seven faculties, the University of the Western Cape takes pride in preparing people who can adapt to, engage with and think deeply about the opportunities and risks available in a rapidly-changing world - graduating citizens of the world.
The University of the Western Cape was recently ranked among the top 1000 international institutions in the Universal Ranking by Academic Performance, the US News & World Report 2020 Best Global Universities ranking and the QS World University Ranking; among the top 800 - and top 200 in emerging economies - in the Times Higher Education rankings; and in the top 5.2% worldwide in the 2019 Centre for World University Rankings.
It’s also the only South African university to have been ranked among the world’s top 200 higher education institutions in the very first Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019.
“From humble origins, the University has grown to firmly establish itself as one of the top tier of South African universities - while staying true to the institution’s commitment to access,” says Prof Pretorius. “So as we stand on the cusp of celebrating 60 years of being UWC, it is good to remember our roots, to celebrate where we come from - and to share the fruits of our labour and how we defied the future others chose for us.”
The University recognises that strong leadership, active citizenry and effective government should be the drivers of development.
“As a University, and as individuals, we have a responsibility to the country,” says Prof Pretorius. “We should empower our learners with understanding, help them to develop voice and agency, and to give more than they take.”
The Vision 2030 winners will be announced (and celebrated) on 20 November 2019 at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni.