North-West University: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

North-West University
Yunibesiti ya Bokone-Bophirima
NWU logo.png
Motto Innovation through diversity/Innovasie deur diversiteit/Poposeswa ka pharologano
Established 1 January 2004
(by merger of existing institutions)
Type Public university
Chancellor Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, (King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation)
Vice-Chancellor Dr. T. Eloff
Students 44 008
Undergraduates 43 596
Postgraduates 3 235
Location Potchefstroom / Mafikeng, North West, South Africa

The North-West University is a newly merged institution from 1 January 2004 onwards with three campuses at Potchefstroom (Potch - see Potchefstroom Campus), Mafikeng and Vaal Triangle. The Potchefstroom Campus (founded in 1869) is the largest, and the head office of the University (known as the Institusional Office) is situated at this location. With its merged status the North-West University became one of the largest universities in South Africa with approximately 32 000 students (full-time and distance education students).

The universities that merged to form this institution are the Potchefstroom University and the University of North-West (formerly the University of Bophuthatswana (UNIBO)). These two campuses form the main hubs of the university, with the Potchefstroom campus catering towards the Afrikaans-orientated academic sphere, and the Vaal and Mafikeng campuses being geared towards meeting the needs of a more diverse academic field.


Quick Facts

• In 2008 the NWU won the first place in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Higher Education Excellence Award for Corporate Governance.

• The NWU was named as the most technologically innovative higher education institution in South Africa for 2008 by the Department of Science and Technology's Innovation Fund.

• In 2008, the NWU won a special recognition award from the Pan-South African Language Board (PanSALB) for contributing the most towards multilingualism and nation building in the South African higher education sector during the past ten years.

• The NWU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Theuns Eloff, plays a leading role in higher education, not only in South Africa, but also internationally. He was elected Chairperson of Higher Education South Africa (HESA) for 2008 and 2009, and Vice-Chairperson of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) for the period 2007 to 2009.

• The NWU was the first university in South Africa that offered approved master's qualifications in nuclear engineering on the Potchefstroom Campus.

• The NWU is the only university in South Africa to offer all second-year students a module in creative entrepreneurship.

• Patents and income from product sales generate around R1,4 million a year in royalties, licence income and product sales. The NWU holds six patents in the United States.

• In the major sporting codes the NWU has been amongst the top universities in South Africa for the past five years.

• This university is the preferred training destination of more than 1 000 international athletes from 30 countries.


Webometrics ranked NWU 12th best university in South Africa, 14th in Africa and 2484 in the world in 2009.

The North-West University (NWU): Background

The North-West University (NWU) officially came into being on 1 January 2004 as part of the national government’s broader plan to transform higher education, with the aim of using resources more effectively and addressing past imbalances.

The institutions that came together to create the NWU were the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of the North-West. The staff and students of the Sebokeng Campus of the Vista University were also incorporated.

An Institutional Office and three campuses in two provinces

The NWU is a unitary multi-campus institution with campuses spread across two provinces. These are the Potchefstroom and Mafikeng campuses in North West and the Vaal Triangle Campus in Gauteng. The Institutional Office (head office) is situated in Potchefstroom within close proximity to the Potchefstroom Campus.

Each campus has its unique characteristics. Mafikeng Campus, for instance, is located in the capital of the North West Province and boasts an international ambience on Campus, with students from 22 different countries enrolled there.

Situated on the banks of the Vaal River in a proclaimed nature reserve, the Vaal Triangle with its diverse population also boasts a unique environmental setting, with various species of game roaming the Campus grounds.

The Potchefstroom Campus, is situated in the historical university town of Potchefstroom. Owing to the obligation to enhance access and success for non-Afrikaans speaking students, educational interpreting services into English are offered in certain teaching programmes that are viewed as of strategic importance to deliver high-quality graduates to the emerging South African economy.

Effective management

With specific focus on effective management of the geographically separated campuses of the University, management processes were adopted from business and innovatively applied to operate the University efficiently. The NWU emphasises individual accountability rather than traditional university “management by committee”. To implement accountability, the annual Institutional Plan is cascaded via a performance management process into individual task agreements with managers at all levels and eventually all academic staff.

Promoting academic performance

An important factor of academic performance at university level is well-developed skills in learning, reading, life skills and academic literacy. The NWU offers several programmes to help students overcome skills gaps.

One of these entails academic literacy and skills tests undertaken by all first-year students of the NWU to determine whether they should benefit from the additional academic literacy module offered to all first-years, as well as other skills programmes offered by the NWU. Since 2009, a compulsory module in academic literacy has been offered on the Potchefstroom Campus as a pilot project, and from 2010 it will be extended to all campuses of the NWU. Compulsory modules that aim to assist students to understand the world as a set of related systems will also be phased into all academic programmes at the second and third year levels in 2010 and 2011.

The NWU also invested in the institution-wide implementation of Supplemental Instruction (SI) on all campuses. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a student academic support system, developed and used world-wide, where students who perform well in certain disciplines are trained to facilitate the improvement of learning with small groups of other students. These additional facilitation sessions assist learners to improve the quality of their learning in challenging disciplines.

Historical background

The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) developed out of the Theological School of the Reformed Churches in South Africa (GKSA).

The founders of the Theological School on 29 November 1869 in Burgersdorp decided that education will also be offered to prospective teachers and to persons without any particular profession in mind with their studies. Dirk Postma and Jan Lion-Cachet were the first lecturers, with only five students at the beginning.

At the beginning of 1877 a Literary division/department was established, with its own professor in the person of Petrus Postma. They were specifically instructed to educate students for academic degrees or as teachers.

The Theological School, with its Literary department, was transferred to Potchefstroom for a number of reasons, where it continued its activities in 1905.

For the sake of subsidies, the Literary department was separated from the Theological School in 1919 and "Het Potchefstroom Universiteitskollege voor Christelike Hooger Onderwijs" came into being. At the same time the PUK was developed as an institution for higher education independent from the GKSA. In terms of this co-operation agreement the training of ministers of the GKSA, apart from other theological training, is still supported from the perspective of the Theology.

In 1921 the Potchefstroom University College, without is familiar "of", was incorporated with the University of South Africa. After repeated attempts the PUK in 1933 legally got back its title "for Christian Higher Education". In 1951 the PUK was recognised as an independent university which was to be known as the Potchefstroom University for Christian higher Education (PU for CHE).

In 1966 the Vaal Triangle campus in Vanderbijlpark (Gauteng Province) was established, in response to the request of a number of leaders in various fields in the Vaal Triangle.

A significant number of co-operation agreements were also made with other institutions for higher education in South Africa, elsewhere in Africa and the rest of the world. This process is still continuing. In the interaction which resulted from this, the emphasis is always on the addition of quality and the fulfilment of our calling.

In 1993 the Private Act was thoroughly revised. In 1998 the Statute of the PUK was completely rewritten to enable the PUK to continue to fulfil its important role as part of the single, co-ordinated system of higher education in South Africa, while reserving its institutional culture of Christian higher education, based on its original foundation.

In 1996 the first courses via telematic learning systems (contact education over a distance) were offered. Learners in more than 25 study centres nationwide are supported through interactive study guides, the systematic use of multimedia and personal facilitation of the learning process. On 17 March 2001 commemorates the PUK fifty years of independence.

In 2004 the PUK becomes part of the first real multi-campus and multi-diverse university, North-West University, in South Africa.

Academic Offerings

Driven by innovation and the spirit of entrepreneurship, the NWU has a number of academic offerings that cannot be found at other South African universities.

The University’s academic programming also offers students great choice and flexibility. This is complemented by the NWU’s geographic reach and facilitation centres for off-campus students at 70 centres throughout South Africa and Namibia.

Developing critical skills for the country

The University is focusing on developing scarce and strategic skills:

• The NWU is the only university in South Africa to offer postgraduate degrees in nuclear engineering. • The NWU is the only university in the country to include three entrepreneurship modules in all academic programmes. • The NWU has one of the largest distance education programmes for already employed teachers in the country. In 2008, the NWU awarded 5 789 education qualifications, the majority to teachers who are looking to improve their qualifications.


Faculties: Mafikeng • Agriculture, Science and Technology • Commerce and Administration • Education • Human and Social Sciences • Law

Faculties: Potchefstroom • Economic and Management Sciences • Law • Theology • Arts • Natural Sciences • Education Sciences • Engineering

  • Health Sciences

Faculties: Vaal Triangle• Humanities • Economic Sciences and Information Technology

Notable alumni

Frederik Willem de Klerk State President of South Africa (1989-1994); Vice President of South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as President (1994-1996).

Rina Hugo [1], well known singer received her B.Mus degree in 1970. She was a member of the "Alabama Studentegeselskap". She performed in nearly all genres as soloist: Opera, Oratorium, Operetta, Musical theatre and popular Afrikaans music.

Niekie van den Berg is one of the country's most famous radio personalities.

Henno Mentz is a former Springbok rugby player.

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address