On Saturday, 2 February 2019, Sol Plaatje University held a welcoming ceremony for over 600 first-year students and their families – the largest number of first- time entrants in the history of the University. Because of the large group, two ceremonies had to host what the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Jean Baxen, referred to as “the fortunate ones who not only completed high school but did so with diplomas and bachelor passes that enabled them to sit here today”.
The first session began at 09:00 in the Examination Venue, Moroka Hall, on the Central Campus and welcomed first-year students from the School of Humanities as well as those from the School of Natural and Applied Sciences.
The second session, at 11:00, was held in the same venue and received first-year students from the School of Education and the School of Economic and Management Studies.
In his welcoming message, Professor Jesmael Mataga, the Department Head of the School of Humanities, encouraged students to seize the moment. “You have lived your lives relatively informed by your parents and your communities and may have come here with absolute opinions. University will be a process of learning and unlearning”.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jean Baxen, informed the crowd that “SPU has high standards for which it makes no apology. It does not settle for mediocrity or the lowest common denominator”. She promised parents that the SPU community would take care of their “precious cargo,” care of their minds, of their social and their psycho-social. They would, however, not be able to take care of their hearts. For that, the students must take full responsibility.
The animated master of ceremonies, Mr Thabo Moilwa, motivated students to work hard during this academic year. “I am from the village Ganalaagte in the North West, and I am very proud to be from a village. And I know that every time I go home, they feel me. They know that Thabo has arrived. You must work so hard that when you go home this Easter holidays, they must feel you”.
Their guests were sung out by the SPU choristers’ beautiful rendition of Distruction Boyz’ Omunye.
The first-entering students in 2019 come from all nine provinces in South Africa and are registered across the full bouquet of programmes offered by the University.
These include: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Data Science, Heritage Studies, ICT and Retail Business Management.
In 2019, SPU registered its first cohort of postgraduate students in the following qualifications:
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Data Science
Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Curriculum Studies
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Sociology.
Later this year, SPU will register students in the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management.
The University was given approval to register students in 10 new programmes of which 8 are postgraduate qualifications.