DUT’S FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES TO WORK WITH HWSETA
By: Bekekile Khuphe
The Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Health Sciences is set to work together with the Health and Wealth Sector Educational Training Authority (HWSETA) to try and establish a favourable learning environment and good services to the community.
In a meeting between the Faculty of Health Sciences and HWSETA on Thursday, they aimed at establishing how these two can work together, fund projects and students who will make a change in the community.
The Faculty of Health Sciences has nine departments with about 2 142 students enrolled. The deputy dean of the faculty, Greg Bass, said that the faculty wants to develop a culture of research and increase its output.
“The vision of the faculty is to initiate a research environment, credential staff to PhD and improve good teaching practices,” he said.
The faculty has an aim of embedding teaching and learning, increasing community engagement and also drawing support from different organisations.
Departments such as Somatology, Child and Youth Care, Dental Technology, Medical Orthotics, Radiography and Nursing have been involved in community service programmes in trying to enhance learning.
Mrs Dorinda Borg, the Head of Department for Somatology, said that they received overwhelming responses after the community engagement and there is high demand for their services.
“We run programmes to assist some members in the community. We have done artificial nails to promote entrepreneurship in the community. We want to cultivate students who will give back to their communities,” she said.
HOD for Child and Health Care, Dr Poovie Reddy, said that they provide child care for informal traders in Port Shepstone and this is completely subsidised by students. Other departments experience difficulties. The demand of their services is high but the organisations that enroll students for training are limited.
Dr Ashley Ross from Homeopathy said that it is hard placing students in health care. Mrs Nalene Naidoo, HOD for Radiography, said that in their department there were 5 000 applicants for 70 places. They could not take more due to the shortage of resources and equipment.
Deputy Dean Bass said that their department has faced challenges in balancing staff with increasing demands of research output. He said that it is also challenging moving from a technical to a research university. However, they are proud of academic success within their development.
Two hundred and four Masters Degree students and eight doctoral students have registered for next year’s intake. Three lecturers from their department have won national awards for excellence in teaching over the past three years.
The Chief Executive Officer of HWSETA, Yvonne Mbane said they will work together with the institution, and FET colleges, in making sure they produce the best out of students.
“We have to come with plans on how we can encapsulate the HR [Human Resources] department, fund and give students and opportunity to experience work environment,” she said.
Mbane said they will fund 18 masters and PhD students. One million rand is set to be rendered for fees and allowances. She said they will work with DUT to try and sort out mobile clinics where students can go out to rural areas and assist the less privileged.
Professor Bawa said that by 2019 the institution is planning to have about 31 000 students registered at DUT, including part timers.
“50% of the programmes will be online at the beginning of 2015. Students should study wherever they are. We also want to shift from teaching to learning,” said Bawa.