Almost 40% of learners at Maties are black. University aiming for parity by 2018

Stellenbosch University is often viewed as a conservative, white-Afrikaans bastion of post-Apartheid regret while many assume that the University of Cape Town is more diverse and integrated.

The Maties complexion is, however, rapidly changing and half of all new entrants are black students.

“There are 29 000 students at Stellenbosch University of which 10 700 are black,” says Vice-Rector Arnold Schoonwinkel. “This represents an increase of 126 percent since 2004. We’re aiming for parity between the intake of black and white students by 2018.”

Why Maties are successfully transforming

“We’ve set ourselves transformation targets and take great care in communicating that students of all backgrounds are welcome in Stellenbosch,” says Schoonwinkel. “We’ve started teaching in both Afrikaans and English and we’re providing many more bursuries.”

Stellenbosch University has also started accommodating students who are not fluent in Afrikaans.

“About five years ago we started offering the same class in both Afrikaans and English. We also recently introduced interpreters in every class who translate lectures in real-time. This means students can react and take part in class, even if they don’t understand Afrikaans.”

University not discriminating against white students

The University claims an increase of 14 percent since 2004 in the number of white students who enrol.

“Black student numbers are not increasing at the expense of white students,” assures Schoonwinkel.

Listen to the Soundcloud clip for more detail.

Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of Stellenbosch, Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, explains the concept of translations employed at the University.

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