Sol Plaatje makes history

SABC reported on Monday 12 January that the newly established Sol Plaatje University is making history, by being the first institute on the continent to offer a degree in Data Science.

The first group of students that registered at the university in 2014 obtained an 80% pass rate. Enrollment increased from 105 in 2014 to 375.

It is offering modules not available at other institutions of higher learning, catering for the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope in Carnarvon.

"We offer for the first time in Africa an undergraduate programme in data science which of course is in preparation for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). We expect that the high level skills needed for managing large data sets is going to come on stream in 2018 and 2022 hopefully. Sol Plaatje University would have made its contribution to developing skills for dealing with large data by then, " says Professor Yunus Ballim.

The university has among other things, introduced Heritage Studies, also a first in the country. Existing modules are Education, Information Technology and Retail Management.

One prospective student says, "I am considering data science because I did Maths and Science and they also said the requirements so I quality for that."

The university is currently using existing structures. The first phase of the new building is expected to be completed in January 2016 and the final phase 12 months later.

Students at Sol Plaatje also face the same challenges as those at other institutions including accommodation and funding.

The image is of the Sol Plaatje University Council.

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