Universities Working with Department of Human Settlements on Leadership & Executive Management Courses in Human Settlements
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
11 November 2014
Chairperson: Ms N Mafu (ANC)
The University of Witwatersrand (Wits) offers short courses on Social and Technical Sustainability, Informal Settlements, Human Settlements and Housing: Theory, Concepts and Policy, Housing Finance and the Law and Management of Existing Housing Stock. All the courses are accredited by different committees from the University and cots R10 000 per person. The courses currently e accommodate 25 people - after the completion of the course, a student should be able to interpret different concepts, understand the theories behind human settlements, apply the same theories to solve housing issues and know the different kinds of housing policies. The National Qualifications Framework for the courses is a level 8 and the admission requirements are a Bachelors degree in any field related to housing; a matric certificate with three years experience will also be considered. All the courses are offered in block weeks, where each week focuses on the different aspects of a module; during the block weeks, students should be able to commit to addressing the housing crisis, deal with the key issue of how to manage and maintain rental housing stock, know the definitions of poverty and facilities management and understand the various dimensions of housing finance. The contents of the programmes focus on South Africa and international countries. Other short courses, which are non-credit, are offered under the basic course in Participatory Community Development; the lectures are structured into three blocks and focuses on Climate Change and Towns, Drought Management, Storm Mitigation, amongst others. Another aspect is that a Bachelor of Science (Bsc) course in town planning around housing theory and concepts is also offered but it only deals with theory and there are no practicals.
The University of Stellenbosch (SUN) gave the Committee reasons why its offered course is better and what it seeks to achieve. In order for South Africa to provide adequate housing it needs to turn its attention to, and realise, that South Africa has inherited problems such as exclusionary market processes, the inability to integrate planning and the only way to overcome the situation is to re-model, re-condition, re-orient and re-calibrate shelter and housing interventions. With this said, South Africa also needs to look at the financial markets, dynamics and dislocations of land and property and urbanisation. SUN’s offered course seeks to solve all the problems mentioned above by introducing students to the latest thinking, approaches and experiences to be able to engage in dialogues about what is needed and demanded by the public. After completing the course the students should have enhanced their capabilities of participating in dialogues, the course will allow students be aware of the strategies and tactics to construct sustainable human settlements. The course consists of ten themes, a class mark for attendance is awarded, which counts to 10% for the year; an individual assignment of 65% is given and a group assignment for 25% will be given as well. The tuition fees are R9 000 per delegation - this excludes travelling costs and accommodation for the guest lectures.
The University of the Free State (UFS) programme has been accredited since 2001 and itts students includes officials from Provincial Department to Municipalities. It offers the course to students of Recognition to Prior Learning (RPL) and the programme is offered as a joint collaboration between three departments from UFS - the UFS Business School, UFS Centre for Development Support and Central University of Technology. Course modules are offered in Integrated Housing Development and Operational Plan, Housing Needs Analysis, Introduction to Housing Policy and Practice, Introduction to Managing the People's Housing Process, Project Management in the Human Settlements and Housing and Settlement Policy Development Programme. The University is able to customise its course because it obtained self accreditation and can change 49% of its course content. The course module outcomes are skills in foundation, assignments, business reading and writing, general management and communication, knowledge of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), strategic planning and enterprise risk management. When a student has completed the course, they are accredited bearing towards a Bachelors Degree in Management and Leadership course worth 135 credits. The programme is also offered in blocks where students can choose their preferred duration for the programme but 80% attendance is required and evaluation will be by written examinations and assignments.
Mr Kevin Wall's presentation focused on addressing the issues of poverty. To eradicate poverty there is a need to develop skilled people able to work for themselves and become micro-entrepreneurs. Through skills development projects, soft skills like punctuality, discipline and the ability to work in a team are developed. Potential job creation lies in the maintenance of infrastructure and local companies can train people with low skills to maintain infrastructure in those companies at a low price. An innovative model has to be created to make projects such as these work; this would help ensure that locally based emergent micro-entrepreneurs would have to be developed, trained and monitored - in turn they hire five more other people who also in the end learn the skill. The partners’ involved with the projects are to give local entrepreneurs the relevant training that will relate to the type of work they will be doing, financial assistance will also be required and when they are done with training, mentoring will be necessary. Health and safety issues, technology, hygiene education will have to be a part of the training, and it should be required for the local owners to train their employees as well. Through these projects, national goals are addressed and the assistance of all the Departments will be required, to provide funding, management skills and find companies which are willing to get involved.
Members asked how the universities linked their courses with current developments in technology to make them relevant.
University of Witwatersrand
Dr Brian Boshoff, Senior Lecturer, University of Witwatersrand (Wits), said Vits offers short courses on Social and Technical Sustainability, Informal Settlements, Human Settlements and Housing: Theory, Concepts and Policy, Housing Finance and the Law and Management of Existing Housing Stock. All the courses are accredited by various committees within the university, including the Academic Planning Office. Short courses cost R10 000 per person and there can be a minimum of ten people and a maximum of 25 people, all logistical arrangements are professionally handled by Wits Enterprise (WE), which is dedicated to and vastly experienced in the running of short courses via their Professional Development Hub. After the completion of the courses, a student should be able to; interpret fundamental concepts of sustainable human settlements, understand and cite theories, concepts and ideas pertaining to the subject matter, apply theories and concepts to housing inadequacies, describe housing policies promoted by various countries and international institutions and link policy and practice. All the courses are offered at the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 8 but they could also count towards a Masters degree; to get admission into the courses one has to have a Bachelor's degree in architecture, engineering, planning, sociology or any other similar fields. A matric certificate with three years professional experience in human settlements related professionals is also acceptable. The Social and Technical Sustainability course aims to equip students with the necessary awareness, or understanding, of the various dimensions of sustainability, and the course is structured into two blocks. Block A focuses on the social aspects of the sustainability concept and block B focuses on the technical aspects. Informal Settlements aims to equip students with the necessary understanding of informal settlements as human settlements and is structured into two blocks as well; Block A focuses on understanding informal settlements as complex human settlements and comparing different approaches to them, and Block B introduces various approaches to informal settlement upgrading in South Africa and related policy and practice. Human Settlements and Housing: Theory, Concepts and Policy, introduces students to the local and international literature on core aspects of housing, these relate to; engaging critically with existing discourses on housing policy and being able to draw on contrasting policies from other countries, while also being able to reflect on the political, economic and social conditions that allowed these to be developed in their particular context. The course will also encourage students to commit to addressing the housing crisis. Housing Finance and the Law aims to equip students with the necessary understanding of the various dimensions of housing finance, as well as rights and legislation that apply to housing. The course deals in depth with the evolution of housing policy, housing rights and legislation in South Africa; while other courses seek to link finance to questions of rights and legislation, and how these jointly shape the built environment, the course to some extent is divided into two separate sections. Block A deals with housing finance and Block B focuses on rights and legislation. Management of Existing Housing Stock aims to equip students to deal with the key issue of how to manage and maintain rental housing stock and how to undertake client services. It introduces students to the basic tools and techniques for running and managing existing housing stock and current issues and debates in the field are discussed, both in South Africa and internationally. This course is offered in two blocks as well, Block A focuses on the definitions of poverty and facilities management, and Block B introduces rent administration, setting and affordability, rent collection, managing empty properties and dealing with arrears and eviction.
In addition, a short course is the basic course in Participatory Community Development: Techniques, Theories and Methods. The course is structured into three blocks and includes studies in Climate Change and Towns, Drought Management, Storm Mitigation, Flood Mitigation, Wildfires Mitigation, Technological Hazards Mitigation and Pest Mitigation. To get admission into these courses a student must have a matric certificate with the relevant experience. All the courses have eight qualified professionals that lecture the modules; each of the lecturers have over ten years work experience in the fields.
The Chairperson requested that Members only ask questions for clarity purposes.
Ms L Mnganga-Gcabashe (ANC) said the report did not indicate the duration of the courses.
Ms T Baker (DA) asked under which course informal settlement development fell. Is town planning also offered in the courses?
Ms V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) also reiterated she was expecting the presenter to state the duration of the courses.
Mr N Cape (ANC) asked how the University linked their courses with current developments in technology to make them relevant.
Dr Boshoff in response stated that courses include a Bachelor of Science (Bsc) in town planning around housing theory and concepts. The courses are offered in blocks of three to five days; non-credit courses are only offered when there is a demand for the specific course, and they usually get a total of 10 to 15 people are who interested in the course. All of the Masters courses are credited so they are offered every year and lectures are done for two days, and students must complete written assignments. Urbanisation is also included wisthin the courses, but only it only includes theory.
Dr Firoz Khan, Senior Lecturer, University of Stellenbosch (SUN), said that government delivery is recognised by the United Nations as one of the most significant contributions of settling people in a secure tenure in the history of humanity. South Africa has not been consistent with its delivery of housing and it has had an unprecedented delivery from 1994 - there have been concerns about poor standards, poor quality, poor socio-spatial and poor urban outcomes. South Africa has inherited spatial structure and exclusionary market processes and the inability to integrate planning, transport and housing functions in pro-growth and pro-poor ways. In order to overcome the inherited habits, South Africa needs to re-model, re-condition, re-orient and re-calibrate shelter and housing interventions, and to strategically engage with the dynamics and dislocations of land, property and financial markets, urbanisation and the wider spatial economy, as well as the reconstruction and transformation of projects that simultaneously affirms and denies citizenship. SUN’s course aims to introduce participants to latest thinking, paradigms, approaches and experiences to conceptually arm and practically engage with what is needed, required and demanded. It also aims to build a strong, principled, committed, critical, dedicated and professional community of housing officials, practitioners, researchers and scholars, it will enable and empower to experiment and innovate with the packaging of the necessary tools, techniques and technologies in tune with context, needs and demands. After completing the course students should have enhanced capabilities and capabilities of participants to dialogue and deconstruct discourses and practice that block pro-poor income and asset transfer programmes, they should have greater appreciation and awareness of the myriad of strategies and tactics to conceptualise and construct sustainable human settlement settlements as derived from the lessons and experiments.
The course content has ten themes which include State, Market and Housing, Emerging Developmentalism, Financial, Property and Land Markets and Rethinking Sustainability. The evaluation is as follows: a class mark of 10% is awarded daily for attendance, participation in discussions, preparations for presentations and submissions. An individual assignment is worth 65% and the practical group assignment 25%. The course costs R9 000 per delegate and this includes venue hire, meals and refreshments, stationery and presenters fees, but it does not included travelling costs and accommodation for presenters who coming from outside of South Africa. The course is demand driven and co-designed with the Department and Presidency, and all the presenters are recognised authorities in their field; they have worked in various spheres of government and to policy documents and strategies.
The Chairperson remarked that the Committee understood the presentation and its contents.
University of the Free State
Ms Kholisa Rani, Co-ordinator Short Courses; University of the Free State (UFS) , said the short learning programmes for human settlement of UFS have been accredited since 2001, and have since had provincial and municipal officials who have studied the courses. The course admissions include a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). The course modules are; Integrated Housing Development and Operational Plan, Housing Needs Analysis, Introduction to Housing Policy and Practice, Introduction to Managing the People's Housing Process, Project Management in the Human Settlements and Housing and Settlement Policy Development Programme. The course is offered as a collaborative programme between UFS Business School, UFS Centre for Development Support and Central University of Technology - the UFS Business School obtained self accreditation status from the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), therefore it can change up to 49% of the content without forfeiting accreditation. The levels to which it can customise its courses are; design programmes for client with series of customised short certificates, customised content to be industry specific and dual faculty presentation.
Course content outcomes includes foundation skills, assignment skills, business reading and writing, general management and communication skills, knowledge of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), skills in strategic and change management, enterprise risk management skills and ethics and governance skills. The outline consist of programmes in human settlements, technical aspects of housing construction, cities and climate change, informal settlements upgrading, community based planning and human settlements and infrastructure. The programmes are credit bearing towards the next qualification, short certificates are credit bearing towards Management Development Programme or Bachelors Degree in Management and Leadership - it has a NQF level 5 with 135 credits. The programmes are offered in blocks and the duration can be long or short to accommodate the client, 80% attendance from the student is required and the evaluations includes assignments and open book examinations. The cost will depend on the number of students enrolled and where the courses are held.
Ms Mnganga-Gcabashe asked if UFS was willing to travel to students for lectures, instead of the students going to the University; how many students will need to be present for the presenter to consider travelling to the students.
Ms Rani responded that it would have to be more than 25 students.
Dr K Wall Briefing
Mr Kevin Wall from the University of Pretoria (UP) said employment is key for addressing poverty; many of the soft skills needed to improve a worker's employability are developed on the job. There needs to be maintenance of the infrastructure in local companies and they sometimes do not have the right people who are willing to do this; it can be done by people with low skills, which will help create jobs. Maintenance has to be yearly to assess the level of skills in people and the methods of doing this has to be labour intensive for it to work. Some of these include addressing the maintenance backlogs; this can generate extensive opportunities for skills development and job creation.
In order to address the issues of unemployment an innovative model has to be introduced; the model would involve creating partnerships for skills development and job creation on the basis of exchange principles relating to quality control and mutual incentives. There are many ways in which this kind of model could work, for example; locally based emergent micro-entrepreneurs would have to be developed through partnerships between companies and the local micro-entrepreneur will have to be trained and monitored. The partners will give the appropriate training and skills related to the job and financial assistance with setting up the micro-businesses, thereafter, they must continue to provide structured learning in the form of mentoring, and also further training and innovation, when necessary. The training would involve technology of on-site sanitation facilities and rural water systems, occupational health and safety, environmental management practices, solid waste handling and disposal, health and hygiene education and basic management and administration. The projects would address national goals in developing skills in the workplace, job creation, micro-enterprise creation and nurturing, broad-based black economic empowerment and infrastructure and service delivery. In order for this to happen the Departments need to get involved by providing funding and private businesses also have to invest their money, time and skills into skills development and job creation.
The Chairperson asked in which communities the projects have been implemented.
Ms Bam-Mugwanya asked if their projects work with the Department of Science because they have a similar project.
Mr Wall replied saying the projects were currently in the Eastern Cape (Butterworth and East London) but there are some areas in KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape that have been interested in coming on board. The Department of Science's projects are more technological but they do assess their projects for technological purposes.
The Chairperson explained to the Committee that the projects are community based and they focus on issues of developing skills in the community.
The meeting was adjourned.
Mafu, Ms NN
Baker, Ms TE
Bam-Mugwanya, Ms V
Capa, Mr N
Khoarai, Mr L P
Sithole, Mr KP
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