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Details of Hermanus Varsity presented

The old synagogue, in the centre of Hermanus will be the headquarters of the new Hermanus Varsity.

An information session on the new proposed Hermanus Varsity was provided to a packed municipal auditorium, some people even spilling out of the entrance on Thursday 22 November.

Attended by old and young, people were given a chance to voice any concern, grievance or worry they may have over the project.

Rev Edwin Arrison chaired the discussion, which was led mainly by Prof John de Gruchy (80), a retired academic formerly of Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town, in which the plans of the Hermanus Varsity Trust (HVT) were presented.

The trust was initiated by the Hermanus community to provide a tertiary educational programme to meet the diverse needs of the Overstrand through a variety of academic partnerships.

Also, HVT is developing its programme in collaboration with various academic partners, such as Stellenbosch University, higher education investment company Stadio, The University of Johannesburg and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

“There may be others joining us, as they have expressed interest as well,” De Gruchy said. He added that these partnerships will afford Hermanus Varsity students a tailored academic offering supported by dedicated volunteer tutors sourced from the region.

He stated the main aim of this initiative is to bring about transformation through education, and also to provide a chance for people to live and learn locally.

He said each year 2000 learners pass matric in the Overberg region alone, and each year 800 of these matrics obtain university entrance qualifications.

“Many of those actually do not make it to university owing to the lack of sufficient funds, and most tertiary institutions are located in cities,” De Gruchy pointed out. “I believe they would go if they had the means to do so.

“These kids have the potential to become greatly educated, but are often hampered by circumstances, that is why we are willing to give our best to make this initiative succeed.” He also added this project is not only for young people but also for post graduates and adults who would like to upskill or obtain a higher qualification.

“We will offer a diversity of courses and degrees, and the way in which we are going to offer is through distance education – that is, online, contact tutorships and evening classes, as we want to meet the needs of everyone in terms of the job market.”

To get things going, De Gruchy said, “a database of academics and other individuals interested in being part of this initiative has been developed, and has grown to 80 people in Hermanus alone. We are also now a legally established trust.”

He added the HVT committee is open to more academic partners or stakeholders who would like to join in this initiative. “We are also open to others who want to express their concerns,” the professor said.

He said the a number of courses were expected to be run in 2020, and others may already start in mid-2019.

For more info, contact the committee at hermanusvarsity@gmail.com

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