Country: South Africa  
Student Population:
Continent: Africa

as the Vaal Triangle College for Advance Technical Education in 1966, then as Vaal Triangle Technikon (1979-2003) Vaal University of Technology has grown in stature as a higher education institution, drawing students from all over the country. A brief look at the past will serve to highlight some significant developments.

1966: The Vaal Triangle College for Advanced Technical Education opens its doors to the community, with Mr CAJ Bornman appointed as the first Principal. The College boats 189 students, 15 members of staff and hostel accommodation for 60 students.

1967: On 22 September the official opening takes place, and the Advanced Technical Education Act becomes a reality.

1968: The first Department of Commerce is established at the Vaal Triangle College for Advanced Technical Education.

1971: Mr Bornman resigns as Principal and Dr Isak Steyl is appointed as Director of the Institution.

1972: 11 April is a historic occasion with the receipt of autonomy for the Vaal Triangle College in accordance with the Advanced Technical Education Act. Projects are instituted to expand all existing facilities.

1973: The College finds it impossible to cope with the unexpected increase in student numbers, and the Department of National approves proposed extensions. In the meantime, students are housed in temporary classrooms to accommodate the need for extended facilities.

1974: The Van Wyk de Vries Report, investigating all matters pertaining to technical institutions in South Africa, is published, resulting in far-reaching effects on the future development of the Vaal Triangle College for Advanced Technical Education.

1975: The construction of new buildings commences, providing students with a new library, gymnasium, laboratories, lecture halls and a new wing for the Department of Commerce and Management. The College is thus enabled to double its student intake and expand the curriculum.

1977: Expansion of facilities continues, and in addition, the National Higher Diploma in Analytical Chemistry is offered for the very first time.

1978: Departments of Art, Food and Clothing Technology are established and student enrolment reaches the 3 000 mark. Staff now totals 137. The findings of the Goode Committee of Inquiry are published and qualifications obtained at the College are investigated. It is recommended that a fifth year of study be introduced to accommodate the training of the technologists.

1979: Colleges are renamed Technikons in accordance with the Advanced Technical Amendment Act. The six year Hierarchy of Qualifications is approved by the Department of Education.

1980: Auditorium 200 is completed and a whole new dimension is added to the existing facilities.

1981: The Vaal Triangle Technikon continues to expand. An additional hostel opens its doors and hosts 140 more students. Vesco donates a further 22 hectares to the Institution to accommodate the massive building expansions approved by the Department of National Education. Courses in Microbiology and Paramedical Sciences are offered for the first time.

1982: One more hostel is completed, housing another 140 students. The Bureau for Student Affairs is established giving students a much needed voice in the management of their affairs.

1983: Act 84 of 1983 is passed by Parliament, giving Technikon Councils greater autonomy. Post designations of senior staff are changed and the title of "Rector" is introduced. The Technikon awards its first Diplomas in Technology.

1984: The first Laureatus students registers, and during the same year a Department of Educational Technology is established.

1985: Building operations commence at the former School of Management and Applied Sciences.

1986: The Gold Fields Library is completed and finally the Technikon boasts a library which satisfies the needs of existing students and staff.

1987: The Vaal Triangle Technikon establishes a satellite campus at Secunda, offering part-time classes only. Building commences on new facilities at the main campus for the School of Art and Design. Student numbers reach 6 000.

1994: The Vaal Triangle Technikon establishes a new satellite campus at Klerksdorp, called the Northwest Satellite Campus. The Secunda Satellite Campus commences full-time courses in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and marketing. Approval is given to the Technikon to offer degree courses and the first enrolments are accepted.

1995: The Vaal Triangle Technikon establishes two additional satellite campuses at Upington called the Norther Cape Satellite Campus, and at Kempton Park, called the East Rand Satellite Campus. The Secunda Satellite Campus changes its name to the Highveld Ridge Satellite Campus. The first B.Tech. degree is awarded.

1996: The Vaal Triangle Technikon adopts a Transformation Charter compiled in consultation with all stakeholders. The academic structure undergoes further changes. Faculties replace the former schools and directors become deans. The first Masters Degree - M. Tech in Electrical Engineering - is awarded. Tokyo Sexwale is elected as the first Chancellor of the Vaal Triangle Technikon.

1998: The 14 627 student mark is reached, reflecting the demographics of South African society. Black student enrolment rises to 63,4 percent. All disciples offer degree courses which can be pursued from bachelors to doctorate level. The Gold Fields Foundation's Administration Manager officially opens the Gold Fields Library's Electronic Classroom.

1999: The new language policy, with English as the official language, comes into operation from the beginning of the new academic year. The first Doctorates are awarded in the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences and the Faculty of Management Sciences. On 30 April the Vaal Triangle Technikon opens its high-voltage laboratory, making it a leader in the field of electrical engineering, with the capacity to serve the power cable research needs of the entire South Africa.

2001: This year marks the 35th Anniversary of the institution. A Technology Station for Composite Materials is established to assist the composite industry in product development and the use of state-of-the-art technology. Students will be involved in the Technology Station activities, thus gaining technological skills and real industry exposure.

2002: A Department of Technology Planning and Development is established to spearhead the drive by to make greater use of technology. Our champion athletes Chris Harmse won a gold medal at the African Champions in Tunisia and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi won a gold medal at the Commonwealth games in Manchester. Mbulaeni was the first black South African ever to win a gold medal at these championships and he was also the first South African to win a gold medal in the track events in the past 44 years. On 6 September the first ever Honorary Doctorate is awarded to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Three schools were adopted. The Choir releases a CD, entitled "The Mighty Sounds of the Eaglets".

2003: During this year, the Desmond Tutu Lecture Series was instituted. The inaugural address was given by Judge Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court. The second address in the series was presented by Clem Sunter, Chairman of the Anglo American Chairman s Fund. The academic re-direction of the institution towards becoming a university of technology begins.

2004: Vaal Triangle Technikon officially becomes the "VAAL UNIVERSITY of TECHNOLOGY". The university takes occupation of the old Vista Campus at Sebokeng, renaming it "Educity" in the process. "Where the Eagle Soars", a pictorial history of the Vaal Triangle Technikon was published. Mathews Phosa, former premier of Mpumulanga and current chairperson of the new UNISA Council, presented the annual Desmond Tutu Lecture. The university publishes it first institutional academic journal "Sediba sa Thuto" to serve as a vehicle for young and new academics and researchers to publish their work. An Institute of Chemical and Biotechnology is established.

2005: Registrations pass the 17 000 mark for the first time. Vaal University of Technology forges ahead with the transition from a technikon to a university. An institutional delegation of senior managers visits four leading universties of technology abroad to gain more knowledge of this institutional type. The Department of Technology Planning and Development is renamed Technology Transfer and Innovation, signalling the intention of the university to chart a course as a distinctive institution in the university of technology mode. A technology summit is held to acquaint staff with the characteristics of a university of technology and to identify the "gap" between a technikon and a university of technology. The Institute for Sustainable Livelihood is established in November. Dr Martin Hinoul of the Katolieke Universteit, Leuven, Belgium presents the annual Desmond Tutu Lecture Series.

2006: VUT celebrates its 40th anniversary. A new academic structure is introduced to provide for the final transition of VUT from its former technikon structure to a university of technology structure under the banner: Transformation II - from Technikon to University.



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