The University of Johannesburg ended 2018 on a stable note with the leadership of the University focused on delivering on the Strategic Plan 2025, on which this Report will elaborate.
2018 saw Prof Marwala as leading the vision of focusing on 4IR. We are monitoring progress on the challenges we faced in ethical leadership and how these impact on our reputation. Impatient as we all are regarding these legal matters, I understand that “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small”. I remain deeply concerned that we do not have a well-functioning Convocation and would like us to prioritise this in 2019, and ensure that strong, capable and ethical leaders are elected in proper elections.
Stability of our Education Sector
A successful academic year of peace and stability without a single class being disrupted is our goal, to ensure quality of delivery of our educational activities, and I believe 2018 was just such a year at UJ. While I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the entire University community, we must continue to work together to consolidate and build on the progress made in this regard.
Our financial position at UJ remains strong with consolidated net assets of R5.7 billion (2017: R4.9 billion), and R245 million invested during the year mainly in student residences and academic venues. Our financial situation stabilised during 2018 as we continued to closely monitor spending, financial controls and discipline, cash flow management, and procurement activities.
It is imperative that our safety and security issues are professionally managed, as parents and guardians of students entrust the tutelage and the safety of their children to us. While we had several safety challenges in 2018, overall, it was a stable year.
The #FeesMustFall movement rattled the education sector in 2015 and 2016, and I believe that we have learned that education is a priority for our nation and that money spent in education is money well spent. I believe we heard our children, the youth of the future, because we listened to the right voices of stability in our education sector. It remains important to address the ever-increasing and much-needed demand for greater participation in higher education. At UJ, every year the number of applicants exceeds by far the number of available spaces. The important role of TVET colleges in addressing this demand should receive attention.
The role of higher education in South Africa in building a sustainable future for our country and our continent cannot be emphasised enough. I believe that at UJ, we are committed and positioned to continue playing our role in this important mission.
My sincere gratitude goes to the entire community of UJ for their commitment to building the university of the future.
The future of our academic institutions must be characterised by the health and wellness of all, a safe learning space in every respect, and the vibrant exchange of ideas and ideals.