UFH Ready for Vet School
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Honourable Mr. Senzeni Zokwana visited the University of Fort Hare(UFH) on the 5th of April 2018. The University is in the process of the establishment a Veterinary Sciences School on its Alice Campus. The visit began with a formal meeting in East London, where the minister was briefed by the Vice Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, at the Institutional Advancement Offices on Commissioner street about the project. Buhlungu said”.
The meeting attended by Landbank, The Red Meat Producers Association and the Veterinary Science Council and other stakeholders focused on the why the Veterinary Sciences School should be hosted at the institution, which part of this is that the Uuniversity wants to initiate and train young people to be veterans under the Faculty of Science and Agriculture. In addition, the Eastern Cape has the largest population of livestock in the country and it is not surprising for Fort Hare University to want to host the country’s second Veterinary Sciences School as the Alice campus has an impeccable track record of producing agricultural scientists of note.
The University indicated that its teaching and learning facilities and general infrastructure requires upgrading and requires full support from the Minister to assist in the establishment of the school. The session, therefore, felt that in order for this project to be sustainable in the near future the Faculty of Science and Agriculture must be equipped and capacitated to be able to support this degree.
The Minister conclude the visit by taking a whistle-stop tour of some of the Alice Campus projects and facilities including the Nguni Cattle Development Project, Agri Park project, the Solar House, and Biogas Project. A number of stakeholders supported the institutions undertaking including the President of Veterinary Science Council represented by Mr. Clive Warwick and the undertaking. MEC Qoboshiyane made a strong undertaking to support the institutions undertaking and believed that all municipalities should adopt a Veterinary Sciences School in their areas. A further strong support came from the Rharhabe Royal Kingdom representing Her Majesty the Queen is Nkosikazi Ngqika.
The vice-chancellor of the University of Fort Hare (UFH), Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, says he will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the second veterinary school in the country is housed in his institution. Buhlungu said it was time funds and resources allocated to universities for research go to universities like Fort Hare and not only Free State, Wits and Western Cape. “The second veterinary science school in the country belongs to Fort Hare. We have the track record. The university is ready to have the vet school. We will be very upset and we will fight to resist any decision to allocate resources to any other institution”.“We have got the basics. The curriculum has been put together, it has been submitted for peer review and will eventually go to SAQA for approval,” Buhlungu said. Buhlungu and Qoboshiyane agreed to increase lobbying efforts and resources ahead of the decision by the Council for Higher Education.
Qoboshiyane said part of lobbying by the province will include consultative meetings with the Nelson Mandela, Rhodes and Walter Sisulu universities, traditional leaders, livestock farmers, agriculture unions and other commodity groups. “The province has the most livestock numbers of the provinces in the country. It is logical then for us to have the second veterinary school in the country situated at the University of Fort Hare,” Qoboshiyane said. He said the province had an estimated 3.6 million cattle, 8.8 million sheep, 3.3 million goats, 350 000 horses, 450 000 dogs and 110 000 ostriches.Fort Hare’s Dr. Keletso Mopipi said the high livestock and wildlife numbers was one of the competitive advantages for the university to house the veterinary school. According to the technical task team progress report presented at the meeting by Mopipi, the University of Pretoria’s veterinary school, the only vet school in the country, only produces 120 veterinarians a year while the national demand for vets is 250 a year.
MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane (left) The Minister, Honourable Mr Senzeni Zokwana (second from left) ,Vice Chancellor Prof Buhlungu (second from right)