By Ashwell Glasson – Registrar and Head of Department
College Student Representative Council elected
For the Student Administration and Programme Support department, the first few months of year is particularly busy, with students joining us on site at the campus. One highlight is the election of our Student Representative Council (SRC). The College has been at the forefront of developing conservation leadership capabilities since its inception, and the SRC has been one of our guiding pillars that drives much of education and training across the Pan-African region.
The 2023 Academic year kicked off positively, with 26 students enrolling in our National Certificate: Conservation Management – Terrestrial NQF Level 5 programme. Over the first two weeks, our students attended their inductions and orientations with the various departments and business units, exposing them to our learning and workplace culture. As a residential College, encouraging our students to settle into campus life is a priority for our team, especially as many of our students come from distant countries and communities and will not see their families for quite some time. Helping to build a supportive team environment with the students is crucial for their well-being.
On 16 February, our students elected their Student Representative Council (SRC), who will form the core of the student leadership and lead various crucial initiatives in the student body and campus.
Firstly, our student leaders become the catalyst for constructive student and College management relations, where they represent the students and act as a communication channel for day-to-day activities and needs. The College places immense importance on the students’ roles in improving its services and the quality of learning and teaching.
The student leadership election process is managed on a highly structured basis, with a process that ensures there are two individuals nominated per category for election purposes.
This year’s SRC are as follows: Mr Muzi Machabe (Chairperson), Ms Iris Mathebula (Secretary-General), Mr Heuston Mhlari (Food committee), Ms Amukelani Mdluli (News Committee), Mr Eddie Sibuyi (Social Committee), Mr Donovan Antonie (Environmental Committee), and Mr Tomas Ndhlovu (Class representative).
The members of the SRC also have the opportunity to develop and refine their personal and professional leadership capabilities by encouraging inclusivity, proactive problem-solving and teamwork between the student body and the College.
We hope that this leadership experience will assist them in their careers and home communities, for skilled and committed leadership is required to support conservation.
We must thank our donors and sponsors for the generosity in supporting our students throughout their studies with us. We look forward to planning a social event for our students soon and will keep you, our stakeholders, updated on their learning journey with the College.
News from within the department, is that we have appointed Ms Risuna Mashele as our Librarian, who has set herself targets for her first 30 days in office. The team is excited about her appointment and the support she will bring to students, our printing team and the management of our wonderful library resources.
The Registrar has been working on a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) projects for the Kruger National Park, which has focused on Field Rangers across all ranks, who have not been able to apply for promotions due to the lack of matriculation certificates from the Department of Basic Education. To date, we have successfully completed 22 assessments, which has enabled these individuals to apply for certain posts in the park that were not available to them due to schooling requirements. In conjunction with the Head Ranger of the Kruger National Park, Ms Cathy Dreyer, we will support a second group of RPL assessments shortly.
The department was recently represented at the Attorney-General Alliance and Good Governance Africa workshop on Transnational Organised Crime which included various wildlife crime topics and solutions. The College presented on some of the advances we have made with our canine capabilities, improved rhino population monitoring and dehorning programmes.