The University of KwaZulu-Natal hosted a Virtual Parents Day for the parents and guardians of UKZN’s 2022 first-time entering students.
The event – aimed at providing the right tools, resources and information – was streamed live with 876 views on Zoom, 1 687 views on the University’s YouTube channel and over 3 200 views on the Facebook channel.
In her welcome address, Executive Director: Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo shared her belief that despite the meeting being virtual – due to COVID-19 protocols – it would still serve its purpose of being insightful in sharing the University’s vision and plans for the academic year ahead.
Zondo, who facilitated the event, highlighted how the session would empower parents by giving them the chance to ask questions and engage with UKZN staff members which would in turn reassure them that their children’s decision to study at UKZN is the right one.
Speaking on behalf of the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca welcomed parents and guardians and expressed his pride at UKZN’s first-year students for securing their place as one of 10 000 undergraduates out of 225 000 applicants the University had received this year.
Songca addressed the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic and noted the University’s stance in striking a balance between minimising the risk posed by the virus and the continuance of teaching and learning at the University.
‘Throughout the pandemic, staff and students have responded positively and in great solidarity to the monitoring and safety measures we first put into place and update routinely, co-ordinated through the creation of the COVID-19 Campus War Room.
‘As part of our efforts, a team of health and medical experts of the University instituted large-scale high-level surveillance, prevention and response measures to ensure that we were ready to deal with COVID-19 cases detected in our community.’
Songca reminded parents of the Institution’s longstanding international stature and reputation by highlighting one of its many achievements of being ranked third in South Africa in the 2021-2022 (URAP) World University Rankings.
He encouraged students to make the most of their time in the University by not only doing well academically, but also forging long standing friendships and urged parents to stay involved in their children’s academic progress and general wellbeing.
Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Mr Malusi Zuma expressed his gratitude to the University’s student body for putting their trust in them as leaders. He also highlighted the SRC’s aim in serving the student population financially – through a bursary scheme directed at relieving returning students from historical debt – academically, and in sports. Zuma noted the SRC’s mentorship programme designed to help bridge the gap between high school and university life and urged students to join hands in making UKZN the best it can be.
A live question and answer session was made available where parents were able to engage and ask questions directed to UKZN staff members who were on standby.
Closing off the event, Interim Senior Director for the Student Services Division, Professor Ntombifikile Mazibuko thanked the parents, guardians and caregivers of UKZN’s first-year students for attending. Noting how UKZN staff members are there to ensure that students succeed through means of a conducive living and learning environment, she expressed her hopes for providing well-rounded graduates and thanked the Corporate Relations Division for organising an informative event.
To watch the Virtual Parents Day event click here.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela