Day one (25 June 2019) of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Lekgotla currently taking place at the Durban ICC, saw thought leaders within the higher education sector sharing their expert views on how entrepreneurship can revolutionise the sector.
This year’s Lekgotla is taking place within the unifying theme of ‘entrepreneurship through the arts’ and will be curated by the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Faculty of Arts and Design, with the support of the South African Humanities Deans’ Association (SAHUDA).
During his welcoming address as the hosting University, DUT Vice – Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu called for a shift in education philosophy within the higher education sector in order for the sector to be responsive to the current requirements of our economy.
“Essentially the education and training we give to our young people has not been changed. Some of us especially those who are in Universities of Technology and perhaps TVET colleges will boast about providing education and training that focuses on the world of work. But we got to begin to ask questions about whether it is still relevant because if we are going to channel young people into an education and training system that might educate them for particular professions that might no longer exist in the next five or 10 years. Then we are selling them hopes,” he said.
“We are beginning at least at DUT to ask ourselves those critical questions about whether we can continue to say we are training for the world of work. Given how quickly the world is changing around the professions that we have always. We ought to be thinking about how our young people would become more versatile and become more adaptive to a changing environment. How they could be self-directed based on the knowledge and skills they have that they could possibly turn to anything that the world requires at that particular time,” he added.
Prof Mthembu who is also the Chairperson of Universities South Africa (USAf) urged delegates to come up with futuristic ideas for the betterment of the higher education sector. “I think that this Lekgotla is going to assist us to really think differently about how we could approach our education and training system. How we could ready our students and how we could ready our graduates for the world that keeps on changing drastically,” he added.
He also applauded the inclusion of ‘arts’ into the theme of this year’s Lekgotla. “I’m happy that the theme of this conference has the arts in it because the creative arts are also a very important part of the innovations that we have and that can help to turn the world around,” Prof Mthembu said.
USAf CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa spoke about the importance of growing the relevance of entrepreneurship in higher education. He also highlighted the importance of inculcating the outlook of looking beyond the obvious to young people.
He stressed the lack of innovators and entrepreneurs produced by the higher education system and called for the integration of knowledge within the sector.
Faculty of Arts and Design, Executive Dean, Dr Rene Smith called for the rethinking and revisioning about the role of arts in our economy. “The Arts are not the nice-to-have-show, we are unapologetically claiming our space as artists and creatives,” she said.
She also challenged artists and creatives to broaden their understanding of entrepreneurships.
The action packed four-day programme of the EDHE Lekgotla continues until Friday, 28 June 2019.
Pictured: EThekwini Municipality Acting Mayor, Councillor Fawzia Peer, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, Professor Sibusiso Moyo and Dr Poppet Pillay together with other dignitaries at the EDHE Lekgotla at the Durban ICC.