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Institutions Focus on 2005 Merger
Daily Dispatch - South Africa
East London - The three institutions scheduled to merge into one new Eastern Cape University of Technology (ECUT) are set to focus their energies on realizing the merger in 2005.
Education Minister Kader Asmal on Tuesday announced the names of the merged institutions, including the ECUT - which consists of the University of Transkei (Unitra) in Umtata, and the Eastern Cape Technikon and Border Technikon in East London.
It is understood that Umtata will be the seat of governance of ECUT. The three had initially agreed that the new institution be named Walter Sisulu University for Science, Technology and Rural Development, a name that was rejected by Asmal.
There were mixed reactions to the new name announced by Asmal.
The institutions gave different accounts of what is to unfold regarding the scheduled merger for 2005. Eastern Cape Technikon spokesperson Angela Church said each institution had its own merger forum task team to deal with academic programmes, finance, information technology and marketing.
Church said each task team had its own current status reports, and teams would combine to come up with a way forward. She would not divulge the deadline for combining the task teams. Border Technikon spokesperson Pinky Bata said her institution would continue employing collective strategies for taking the merger forward.
"We still have to craft a mission and vision for the new institution, determine programme mixes and delivery sites, and tackle critical integrated organizational development issues," she said.
Unitra spokesperson Karuna Krishanlal-Gopal said she still waiting to be briefed about what would happen after the naming of the new institution.
However, Unitra vice-chancellor Nicky Morgan was busy with the other merger partners and the university council. Krishanlal-Gopal reiterated concerns about the nature of the institution, which Asmal has proposed, which is in effect a technikon.
She said Unitra initially argued the region "needs university programmes within an accessible distance." Apparently the proposals Asmal made to the Cabinet last year referred to creation of a comprehensive institution.