MACE Workshop Brainstorms Ideas to Raise Status of KZN Universities
Representatives of Higher Education Institutions including UKZN, the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Berea Technical College, the University of Zululand and the Mangosuthu University of Technology attended a Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) regional workshop held in Durban.
The workshop provided an opportunity for MACE members to meet, learn from each other and share ideas on how to leverage business opportunities, which will enable them to improve their marketing of KwaZulu-Natal institutions.
Chief Marketing Officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and 2019 Global Women in Marketing Awards nominee Ms Taweni Gondwe-Xaba inspired delegates with her talk on how to raise the status of KwaZulu-Natal universities.
Gondwe-Xaba encouraged institutions of higher learning to put more emphasis on building relationships with local businesses to help address the issue of negative perceptions in the region. She also advised MACE members to proactively participate in various KZN Business Chamber events and programmes.
‘We need to work towards changing the perception that KZN is not a place for businesses to partner with. We want people to speak about our institutions like they do about international institutions,’ she said.
‘Universities need skill training programmes for students that are relevant for the work environment and in return get those graduates to advocate for the institutions. Many students are doing exceptional work but we don’t know about it because of the negative press that clouds our institutions. We need to come up with a strategy to get positive stories out there,’ she said.
New office bearers were elected for MACE in KwaZulu-Natal. Mr Sibongiseni Magwaza from Berea Technical College was chosen as Chair, Ms Noxolo Memela of DUT as Deputy-Chair and Ms Xoliswa Zulu of UKZN as Regional Secretary.
Outgoing Chair Ms Hazel Langa of UKZN was elected as an honorary member and mentor to the newly elected team.
Langa thanked Gondwe-Xaba for accepting the invitation to address the forum.
‘Your acceptance is an indication that local businesses see value in partnering with local institutions of higher learning,’ said Langa. ‘We operate in turbulent environments characterised by a poor economic climate, unemployed graduates, corruption and many other factors, so a concerted effort is required in order to address challenges facing our region.’
She further encouraged all universities to take part in the annual MACE Excellence Awards to be held during the Association’s Congress in Port Elizabeth towards the end of this month.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga