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Timeline

2013
Background of Sol Plaatje University (SPU)
2013

Discussions on the possibility of a new University in the Northern Cape go back to many years with some reports indicating that the idea was mooted in the 1960's as a possible project of the then Apartheid Government. This call was amplified after 1994, and following review and consideration, it was decided by the new democratic government to establish the National Institute for Higher Education in the Northern Cape (NIHE-NC), based in Kimberley and with a satelite campus in Upington. NIHE-NC was established as a coordinating institution to provide a platform for delivery of programmes and qualifications by the established higher education institutions in South Africa. NIHE-NC was not established as a degree-granting institution in its own right.

Spurred by the increasing of Grade 12 school leavers who complete their schooling with academic results sufficient to enter higher education study and the need to increase South Africa's higher education participation rate, pressure for entry increased in the latter part of the 2000's to a point where the capacity of existing 23 universities was clearly not sufficient. It was in this context that the argument for a university to be established in the Northern Cape became sufficiently strong. This resulted in a process of consultation and planning for an institution that was to become Sol Plaatje University with its academic seat in Kimberley. 

SPU Established
2013

Sol Plaatje University (SPU) was established as one of the two universities in post-apartheid South Africa.

2014
First Cohort of Students
2014

Sol Plaatje University (SPU) opened doors to its first cohort of students in 2014. Classes began on Monday 17 February 2014, with the first 141 students enrolled for academic programmes in Education, Retail Management and Information Technology.

2015
Expansion of the academic programme offerings
2015

The year 2015 also saw an expansion of the academic programme offerings at SPU. The Bachelor of Education, which in 2014 was offered at the Senior and FET Phase and only in limited specialisations in the sciences, was broadened in 2015 to include Intermediate Phase teaching and incorporated teaching specialisations in languages and the social sciences. Following DHET, CHE and SAQA approval and accreditation of the qualifications, Sol Plaatje University introduced a BSc (Data Science) programme and a 1-year Higher Certificate (Heritage Studies) programme in 2015. The new programmes were well received and SPU has sustained viable student enrolment numbers.

2016
SPU Graduated its first cohort of students
2016

Enrolment of 696 students in all programmes, and graduated 57 at the end of the year.

 

2017
Library and Student Resources Building
2017

The SPU Library and Student Resources Building was one of the first two buildings, the construction of which was commenced under full SPU control. The building itself was designed as a landmark building, completing the south-end of the Central Campus Square, and has been designed flexibly to accommodate the changing nature of the concept of a library to accommodate both regular physical holdings of a library, as well as digital resources with both regular physical holdings of a library, as well as digital resources. In addition to its core library functions, this building will also provide student workspaces, classrooms on the second and third floors, seminar rooms, a multi-purpose auditorium (240-seater), a small conference centre with break-away rooms and space for archival and exhibition purposes. Work on this six-storeys building commenced in October 2015. Due to the complexity of the concrete exoskeleton and the core of the building, the project over-ran its time schedule. At the end of 2017, there were still small outstanding issues that required to be settled with the main contractor. Nevertheless, the Library won the prestigious national Fulton Award for 2017 in the category of building structures more than three storeys high. The Fulton Award was granted for the particularly innovative use of concrete in the building.

2018
First Internal e-Brief
2018

SPU published its first internal e-Brief newsletter in November 2018.

"This is the first of our internal SPU e-briefs that aim to provide a channel for information and communication for staff on activities and developments across our University". 

                                                                    Professor Yunus Ballim 

2019
SPU Bids farewell to Professor Ballim
2019

"Our most sincere gratitude for your selfless service, far above and beyond the call of duty. Your legacy will be immutable and enduring. We shall do our utmost to be worthy of you. Prof Ballim has greatly endeared himself to us. He has truly embraced not only SPU but also Kimberley and the Northern Cape."

                                                                          Judge Steven Majiedt

                                                      Sol Plaatje University Chancellor

2020
SPU appoints its 2nd Vice-Chancellor & Principal
2020

SPU appoints its second Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Andrew M. Crouch, and later that year he presented his first 100 days report.

“My first 100 days as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Sol Plaatje University coincided with the nation-wide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a difficult and challenging time for the entire SPU community and I want to thank each of you for your commitment to keeping the University operational during this period” Prof Crouch.

2021
SPU launches its legacy projects
2021

First, SPU launched its pre-placement enrichment programme, the Talent Pipeline Programme (TPP), targeting learners from grades 10, 11, and 12 from the Northern Cape through a generous contribution of R12.1 million from the Anglo-American Foundation.

Second, in preparation for its decade celebrations in 2024, SPU launched an ambitious three-year fundraising project to raise R100 million in endowment funds to create perpetual access to SPU by young people from the Northern Cape.

 

2022
Launch of the SPU Sport Brand and mascot Gemmie unveil
2022

Sol Plaatje University (SPU) has launched its SPU Sport brand and SPU mascot, Gemmie, to help grow SPU’s presence in varsity sport competitions, and increase awareness of the larger SPU brand.

The SPU Sport brand, new SPU Sport kits, and Gemmie the gemsbok were unveiled at a glittering launch event on Friday, 27 May 2022.

2023
SPU graduates its first masters students
2023

In a significant stride towards becoming a research-active institution, SPU is proud to have celebrated its first cohort of Master’s students. This milestone demonstrates the university’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and fostering an environment of inquiry and critical thought.