Brave new varsity world

07 June 2016 - 09:32 By POPPY LOUW


A proposal to develop Pedi as an academic language, and the introduction of African studies as a major subject next year, are just two ways in which universities are tackling transformation. Transformation at universities came under the spotlight in March with the rise of the #RhodesMustFall movement, which called for the "decolonisation" of education.Since last year's student uprisings, the University of Pretoria has set up an independent panel to focus on language policy, curriculum transformation and institutional and residential culture.Among the proposals being considered is that the University of Pretoria develop Pedi as an academic language.Spokesman Anna-Retha Bouwer said recommendations would be submitted to the university's senate and council."Transformation is a sensitive issue and the university has consulted all interested stakeholders throughout the process."We want to be as inclusive as possible, given the emotive nature of this issue," said Bouwer.The university is also reviewing its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies.Wits University has allocated R45-million to diversification through strategies that include curriculum reform and renaming buildings.Wits' naming committee, following several submissions, agreed to the renaming of Senate House to Solomon Mahlangu House.Other submissions have been made to rename another building after PAC leader Robert Sobukwe.A team set up by the University of Cape Town completed its audit of building names and has turned its attention to Jameson Hall - a building that students havedemanded be renamed - and four other buildings.The university's humanities faculty will establish African studies as a major subject for undergraduates next year.A team established by Stellenbosch University will soon present its recommendations on correcting "deep-seated attitudes and practices" and the "rape culture" said to exist on campus to management.

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