Welcome first years of 2021 – A letter from you 2020/2021 SC Chairperson


Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the North West University this morning. I wish to congratulate each of you, first on having secured your university place and second, for having the good sense to choose to study in the North West UNIVERSITY. North West University puts the student at the centre of everything it does; your experience here at NWU and your success is important to each and every member of staff who works here.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our new students and their parents for choosing NWU. I shall, in a moment, tell you more about the positioning, key characteristics and aspirations of our institution. Let me say for now, we welcome and embrace you. We cannot wait to introduce the learning and educational opportunities uniquely provided by NWU to you, albeit, challenged in many ways by resource, capacity and infrastructural constraints. My appeal to you is to optimally use this opportunity afforded to you, as it may be a once-off opportunity only.

By virtue of your selection, you have joined a small number of people gaining access to higher education. As the university could not provide access to thousands of qualifying students, you carry a special responsibility to succeed and to leave the system as soon as possible to make way for those constantly knocking on the doors of higher learning.

 Your arrival at university marks a new chapter in the story of your life.  But this chapter is a bit different. The preceding chapters were largely written by others – your parents, guardians, families, teachers and the like. Now you will be the principal author of the next chapter – you have the opportunity to determine the direction, the plot and the tempo of your story. This can seem as daunting as it is exciting, as challenging as it is empowering. But the great thing is that you are doing something that you have chosen to do, not something that was chosen for you by others. And while you are here at NWU you will have the opportunity to learn new things, acquire new knowledge, develop new skills, and enhance your personal attributes in profound ways that will equip for life after University. At the same time you will make new friends who will become your friends for life, with whom you will share memories of your University days for many years to come.


The week and for the next few weeks you are likely to be bombarded with information and I am conscious of the danger of adding to information overload. Nevertheless, I wish to share three pieces of advice with you.


One of the great things about university life is the range of new experiences that will be available to you. You will have abundant opportunities to flourish as a student and as a person.    At NWU many of the opportunities are built into your programme while others are extra-curricular. Most of you will undertake co-operative education or practice placements as an integral part of your programme, ensuring that the world of learning is intertwined with the world of work. What you learn in the classroom is applied in the workplace which in turn gives you a deeper understanding of what you have learned in the classroom; it is an incredibly enriching experience that few other students in this country, or Africa for that matter, will enjoy.  And it is no accident that North West UNIVERSITY has the best graduate employment rate of all universities in Africa, something of which we are very proud. We call it the “NWU Edge”.


 Up to now, most of your learning, and indeed your life, has been very structured. The objective was clear – to secure sufficient points to get your place in university. Most of you here today followed a quite precisely defined curriculum and your approach to how you learned was dictated by the demands of the Leaving Certificate. But now you are entering the less structured environment of the University where you will have greater freedom and the responsibility that comes with that.  You will now be expected to be more self-reliant. You are responsible for what you do, for ensuring that you do the work that will be required of you.  There will be no one to check up on you, you are accountable to yourself. Make sure you attend your lectures, labs and tutorials, that you do the assignments and read the material advised by your lecturers and tutors. Ensure that you make enough time for private study; develop a study plan; go to the library; use the on-line learning resources. 

And while we expect you to assume a new level of responsibility please realise that you are not alone. If you find things difficult don’t run away; seek help.  Part of being responsible for yourself is recognising when you need the support of others. TALK TO PEOPLE. Talk to your classmates, your housemates, your friends, or the Students leaders. There are learning centres on campus – Mathematics, Science, Writing, IT – that are there to provide specialist support if you find you require it. And don’t forget the vital pastoral support is provided by the Student Health Centre, the Counselling Services and the Chaplaincy.

I would like to recognise the presence of members of the Executive, Deans of Schools, Head of Departments and Support Staff. You were called upon to provide leadership at our institution, when serious resource constraints are prevalent, and the demands for fundamental change are justified and imminent. I would also like to recognise the presence of our student leadership at all levels, in particular our SRC, represented on the stage by the President of the SRC.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have joined NWU at a definitive and exiting moment in its history. I trust that you will experience, in abundance, the manifestation of our aspirations, some of which I shared with you briefly. Let us be reminded of the fact that NWU remain delicately poised between mediocrity and excellence. It is our collective responsibility, despite our challenges and differences, to ensure the sustainability, in all respects, of NWU, and its emergence in excellence and service delivery.

 We welcome you all and wish you a unique NWU experience.




FNAS VC SC R&O programme

The FNAS SC has prepared a pre-recorded programme. Click on the name of the activity to access it. 

FNAS VC SC Committee Members