Port Elizabeth (PE) Technikon
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Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Education partnering industry

The Port Elizabeth (PE) Technikon’s origins go back to 1882 when it was the PE Art School. Today, it has over 10 000 students and over 700 staff spread across three campuses in Port Elizabeth and one in George (Southern Cape).

The PE Technikon provides higher education and training to meet the demanding and constantly evolving, career-specific needs of the market place. Flexibility, adaptability and creativity are part of its educational philosophy.

Faculties, qualifications and courses
A wide range of courses in eight faculties covering some 50 careers are offered.

Faculties are: l Applied Science Art and Design Built Environment Commerce and Governmental Studies Communication and Education Studies Computer Studies Engineering and Management.

Qualifications offered are National Diplomas and Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Technology (B Tech, M Tech & D Tech).

Careers offered include: Agricultural Management Analytical Chemistry Architectural Technology Biomedical Technology Building Ceramic Design Civil Engineering Computer Systems Engineering Cost & Management Accounting Education Electrical Engineering Environmental Engineering Environmental Health Fashion Design Financial Information Systems Fine Art Forestry Game Ranch Management Graphic Design Human Resources Management Industrial Engineering Information Technology Internal Auditing Interior Design Inventory and Stores Management Journalism Logistics Management Marketing Mechanical Engineering Nature Conservation Office Management and Technology Photography Polymer Technology Production Management (part-time only) Public Relations Management Public Management Radiography Sport Management Textile Design Tourism Management Wood Technology.

The Faculty of Art and Design has remained a trendsetter in the field of art and design. It offers programmes in Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design, Ceramic Design, Stained Glass, Fashion and Textile Design technologies. This Faculty continues to initiate research in the visual arts and design disciplines, including multi-media development and associated capacity building in media technologies, viz. sonic arts, interactive programming, video compression, animation, digital photography and video.

he Faculty realises the importance of the cultural industries, especially design and craft. By developing strategies for growth in the cultural industries it is possible to enhance the socio-economic circumstances for some 1.2 million South Africans who make a living from craft-related activities. In addition, the nation as a whole will be able to develop new industries, establish viable export markets and create employment. New incentives are presently under-way to transform the Ceramic Design programme to include design, production, craft, entrepreneurship, financial management and other relevant skills. The Sculpture section has initiated a fully fledged bronze-casting research unit, devoted to postgraduate research in the areas of ceramic shell investment technologies.

The Faculty embraces a wide range of working methodologies to prepare students for careers in a chosen discipline.

Students who may not be adequately prepared for higher education are assisted through the extended academic curriculum and through the ongoing academic development programme on the main campus of the Technikon. This curriculum ensures that all prospective students who reach the second year level of study are fully equipped both conceptually and technically for the higher education experience. The Faculty engenders a supportive teaching and learning environment, one which allows the art or design student to become a self-motivated individual and to make full use of their creativity, to gain confidence and to become lateral thinkers.

The Faculties of Engineering and Built Environment Studies realise that the key to their success is the employability of their diplomates and graduates. Nationally based high technology industries, consultancies and government bodies are competitively recruiting learner technicians and technologists from these Faculties. Ccollaboration with vibrant advisory boards ensures courses are regularly updated and monitored to fulfil the high demands of industries and professions. There is an excellent laboratory infrastructure to provide practical exposure and experimentation covering the latest technologies. Modern multi-media instruction technologies are used to enhance presentation quality and ICT applications have been integrated into all programmes.

In the Faculty of Engineering, ownership is taken for Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials, Industrial Engineering, Production Management, Quality Assurance and Safety Management. Examples of addressing the needs of local industry include: integrity testing of the welded joints on the piles in the Mossgas Platform, endurance testing on new and reconditioned automotive engines as well as numerous consultations in respect of material failure where litigation was required.

The Faculty has developed expertise in the process of residual stress analysis, where the method of drilling holes into material is utilised. The PE Technikon is the only institution on the African continent to make use of the technologically advanced, German equipment needed for this process.

Recently, the engine-testing unit has been expanded to allow testing of a number of automotive engines simultaneously. A test centre for research on automotive cells (batteries) has also been established. Research is also being done in the field of controllers for flexible automation units.

  • The Department of Industrial Engineering has integrated entrepreneurship into their curriculum. Diplomates are now empowered to construct a ‘virtual organization and/or product’ upon the completion of their studies. The programme therefore offers in-depth understanding of how to engineer, manage and coordinate business resources in a meaningful and optimal manner.
  • The Department of Production Management provides an opportunity for employed individuals to further their studies on a part-time basis. This sought-after qualification is complementary to an organization’s quest to become increasingly competitive.
  • The Department of Electrical Engineering has developed expertise and infrastructure for research in the following interest areas:
    Energy – Extensive expertise and infrastructure is available in the areas of renewable energy sources, load management and the effective utilisation of electrical energy.
    Manufacturing and Automation – An inter-faculty activity area has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Computer Studies. A wide variety of themes including Digital Signal Processing, Robotics, Intelligent Manufacturing and Residual Stress Analysis are included in this activity area.
    Communication – Up-to-date laboratory facilities enable diplomats to be prepared for the rapidly changing and expanding field of electronic communications and provide research infrastructure for Masters and Doctoral studies.
    Research – Active research is taking place at Masters and Doctoral level. A newly established Centre of Excellence in Fibre Optics involving UPE, Aberdare Cables, Telkom and Corning will further enhance research opportunities Most of the research activities fall within the scope of the abovementioned activities. Action research into educational methodologies is also undertaken to facilitate the improvement of knowledge and technology transfer.

In the Faculty of the Built Environment, the research foci are on the development of sustainable infrastructure, transportation engineering and environmental engineering.

The staff members of the Departments of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering have joined forces on multi-disciplinary research projects in the area of low-income housing. The Institute for Building Research and Support renders much needed support to emerging contractors.

These Departments offer all their programmes up to doctoral level and their graduates qualify for professional registration with the respective bodies. These programmes include: w Architecture, with specialization in the application of multi-media in Architecture w Interior Design w Building, with specialization in Quantity Surveying and Construction Management w Civil Engineering, with specialization into Water Engineering, Transport Engineering and Urban Engineering w Environmental Engineering is also offered.

State-of-the-art facilities
The Technikon recently opened a Multimedia Teaching & Learning Centre. ICT laboratories are also utilised to enhance learning and research as well as to integrate relevant application packages in the various subject fields.

Collaboration
The faculties also have a number of inter-institutional co-operation agreements locally, nationally and internationally. A large percentage of staff at PE Technikon are registered with their professional councils, such as the SA Council for Architects, the SA Council for Quantity Surveyors and the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and they enjoy professional membership with various learned societies. Furthermore, the Technikon also plays an active role in these and other policy-making and decision-making bodies.

Meeting the needs of the community
Programmes are constantly revised in order to remain relevant and to ensure that quality is in no way compromised. PE Technikon has always remained sensitive to the needs of the community. Programmes are therefore offered for enrichment purposes and continuous professional development across a range of disciplines. These initiatives are not geographically restricted to the Port Elizabeth area.

To address some of the problems faced by all academic institutions in higher education, various alternatives are offered such as academic development programmes and extended programmes. The Department of Electrical Engineering has ‘adopted’ a local township senior school and has donated equipment and human resource capacity to upgrade and support the facilities.

The Departments of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering have been involved in a number of projects that aim to uplift previously disadvantaged communities.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The MBA Unit of the PE Technikon was started eight years ago and has become the first choice provider of an MBA qualification in the Eastern Cape region. The programme enjoys the support of business and industry as witnessed by its Advisory Committee, which comprises prominent business leaders and academics from the Nelson Mandela Metropole.

The success of the programme can be attributed to the fact that most candidates prefer to attend classes and to interact with colleagues and with lecturer-facilitators. In this way, PE Technkion’s MBA programme adds maximum value. Candidates (our finest ambassadors) bear witness to the fact that the MBA programme-presentation has indisputable practical value, making it unique amongst MBA programmes.

Currently, some 250 candidates are enrolled in the various stages of the programme. This makes it the largest programme of its kind in the Eastern Cape and a very important contributor of MBA graduates nationally.

International involvement and recognition is of great importance to the programme and every effort is being made to enhance and grow these aspects. The PE Technikon participates in a board of international and local MBA-programme specialists that meets annually. The responsibility of the board is to monitor and recommend improvements to examination papers, course content, presentation format and the research conducted by MBA candidates. The board has made a significant contribution to the effective functioning of syndicate groups. The successful contributions that PE Technikon has made to the deliberations of this board confirm the quality of its programme and the MBA programme’s international standing.

Future plans include increasing numbers of international candidates and cementing overseas recognition by participating in a relevant and internationally accepted MBA evaluation programme. PE Technikon aims to further broaden its exposure in other countries and, by so doing, its international credibility.

The Technikon’s MBA is truly a product of which the Eastern Cape can be justifiably proud. It is making a difference to management training in the region and in South Africa and, increasingly, further abroad.


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