Luther Varsity in Southern Africa (Lusa), which was established in 2017 by Lutheran churches in the region, graduated its first intakes recently.
The event on 28 September at its Denel campus, Ekurhuleni was witnessed by the graduates’ relatives, Ekurhuleni residents, Services Seta and industry representatives. The 19 graduates included some from Kwa-Zulu Natal, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Lesotho in keeping with its regional mandate. The regional spread confirms the importance of religion in organising, educating and instilling morally and ethically forthright individuals needed for society’s social cohesion and economic development. They obtained occupational qualifications through bridging programmes in social, business and technological sectors while pending the institution’s application for higher education programmes and qualifications.
Institution founder and former head of the Lutheran World Federation Dr Ishmael Noko said, ” The courses accredited by the National Quality Council comply with the Seta’s recognition of prior learning for disadvantaged students with no matric certificates to access higher education.
“The recognised qualifications provide and affirm their practical skills and knowledge for formal employment in caring for vulnerable children, child-headed households, leadership development, generic management and new venture creation qualifications for SMMEs.” This he said is aligned with the country’s growth and development trajectory outlined in President Matamela Ramaphosa’s ‘new dawn’ era.
Their certificates of competency were in a combination of courses in theology and ministry; child and youth care; generic management; leadership development; information technology; systems development; technical support; end-user computing; new venture creation for SMMEs and domestic services to instil self-esteem, personal growth of domestic workers and to formalise the sector. Noko added that they are also considering courses for grannies to acknowledge, tap on, preserve and transfer their knowledge, wisdom and skills to younger generations.
Commending the varsity as an addition to academia, its board chairperson Bishop Makabe Rakuba said their programmes will, over time, prove credible in developing and contributing essential human resources for the nation despite concerns on the oversaturation of the sector.
Industry’s Steve Schwartz commended the role of the varsity.”Like small businesses it challenges old attitudes which impede change and development through creative ideas, flexibility, practical, realistic, quick and achievable solutions to challenges and provides sustainable employment opportunities.”
He praised the recognition of prior learning process for integrating experience gained through lifelong learning in the workplace. “This develops essential confidence, competency and leadership for the business and public sectors.”
The oldest graduate Nazo Rakgatla (75) urged youths including from Alexandra struggling with entry to tertiary education to consider the institution. “I was denied the opportunity when still young and encourage them to commit to learning to secure their future.”
Details: Lusa Vasity 011 979 7362; www.lusavasity.co.za