In a ground-breaking development, the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Faculty of Accounting and Informatics has received a significant financial boost, securing a generous funding of 24 million rand from the merSETA Skills Development initiative. The announcement was made on Friday, 10 November 2023 at the merSETA Skills Development and Umlazi Digital Centre launch which took place at the Mangosuthu University of Technology. This marks a pivotal moment for the institution and the advancement of education in the fields of Accounting and Informatics.
Present at the event were stakeholders from various sectors, including Mr Siboniso Duma, member of the Executive Council for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, and Chairperson of the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal. Dr Thandeka Ellenson, Acting Head of Department for the Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), also graced the occasion.
The gathering further included Mr N Mokgotsane, the Acting Chief Operations Officer of merSETA, and Mr ZCM Mvalo, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in charge of the Skills Development branch. Additionally, Ms M Frazer, the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education, and Advocate T Mapipa, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Moses Kotane Institute, were among the distinguished attendees.
Key academic figures were present as well, with Professor Oludayo Olugbara, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, and Professor Rathilal, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, contributing their expertise to the occasion. The event also saw the participation of heads of departments, including Prof Nalen Naicker for Information Systems, Dr Tlou Maggie Masenya for Information Technology, Mr Sboniso Mjaja, Research Officer for the Faculty of Accounting, Fanie Ndlovu, technician for the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics. Additionally, the event was enriched by the presence of Sanele Doyisa, the Robotics Facilitator, as well as students from both the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics and the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
“The substantial funding injection is set to be allocated strategically, with 15 million rand dedicated to alleviating the financial burden on students by clearing outstanding debts. This move is expected to enhance accessibility to quality education and create a more conducive learning environment for aspiring accountants and information technology professionals,” said Prof Olugbara.
He indicated that the remaining nine million Rand from the merSETA grant will be directed towards the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics’ infrastructure and equipment development, specifically in the Smart Labs and Robotics department. “This substantial investment aims to equip the institution with state-of-the-art facilities, fostering an environment conducive to cutting-edge research and hands-on learning experiences for students. What makes this funding announcement even more noteworthy is that among the various educational institutions considered for merSETA funding, the institution’s Faculty of Accounting and Informatics stands out as the sole recipient of the nine million Rand earmarked for infrastructure and equipment enhancement,” he stressed.
The infusion of funds into the Smart Labs and Robotics department is anticipated to position the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics as a hub for innovation, research, and technological advancement. “With the ever-evolving landscape of accounting and information technology, these investments will play a crucial role in ensuring that students receive a top-notch education, aligning their skills with industry demands,” said Prof Olugbara.
Prof Olugbara emphasised that the injection of 24 million in funding is poised to have a dual impact, benefiting students by clearing debts and facilitating the acquisition of additional equipment for the Smart Labs.
“I want to highlight that the 24 million rand in funding is not just a monetary boost; it’s a catalyst for positive change. This injection will serve a dual purpose-first and foremost, it will significantly alleviate the financial burdens on our students by clearing debts. Additionally, it will play a pivotal role in enhancing our technological capabilities. We are looking to acquire additional state-of-the-art equipment for our Smart Labs, ensuring that our students have access to the best resources for their academic and research pursuits. This funding represents a holistic approach to advancing education and creating a more conducive learning environment for everyone in our academic community,” said Prof Olugbara.
The decision to allocate a significant portion of the funds to debt clearance underscores the commitment of the Mangosuthu University of Technology and merSETA to addressing financial barriers to education. This move is expected to encourage more students to pursue degrees in accounting and informatics, ultimately contributing to a more skilled and competitive workforce in South Africa.
“The impact of this funding is not limited to the immediate benefits for students and the faculty. The enhanced infrastructure and cutting-edge equipment will likely attract top-tier lecturers and researchers, further elevating the academic reputation of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics ,” stated Prof Olugbara.
MEC Siboniso Duma remarked that the funding will provide substantial assistance to numerous students. He expressed his hope that all students would benefit from this financial support. Additionally, he emphasised the importance of implementing initiatives like these to consistently aid students in their academic pursuits.
“I want to emphasise that this funding is a significant boost that will make a real difference for many students. My hope is that every student can benefit from this financial support. It’s crucial that we continue implementing initiatives like these to consistently assist students in their academic pursuits. This commitment is essential for the overall success and well-being of our student community,” said Duma.
The 24 million rand funding from merSETA Skills Development represents a monumental stride for the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics at DUT.
“This financial injection will not only alleviate financial burdens on students but also propel the institution into a new era of excellence in education, research, and innovation,” said Prof Olugbara.
Pictured: Professor Oludayo Olugbara, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, with internal and external stakeholders at the event.