Vaal University of Technology

THE FORERUNNER to the Vaal University of Technology was named the Vaal Triangle College for Advanced Technical Education. Situated in Vanderbijlpark in South Africa’s industrial heartland, it opened its doors to 189 students (to be taught by 15 members of staff ) in 1966. Growth was rapid. In 1975, new buildings – including a library, gymnasium, laboratories and lecture halls – enabled growth to continue, so that by 1978 student enrolments reached 3 000 and the staff complement 137. The following year, the Advanced Technical Education Amendment Act brought a name change – the Vaal Triangle Technikon – and the opportunity for the new category of higher education institutions to offer and award Bachelors and Masters degree courses, as well as doctorates.

By 1987, as new facilities continued to be added to the core institution, student numbers reached 6 000, and nearly 15 000 twelve years later. Finally, in 2004, the Vaal University of Technology came into being – and incorporated the old Vista University campus in Sebokeng township which was promptly renamed ‘Educity’.

Today, the university offers a wide variety of courses on the main Vanderbijlpark campus, and on the satellite campuses at Kempton Park, Sebokeng, Secunda and Upington ( an isolated but important Northern Cape town almost 600 km away). The 325 academic and research staff are spread across the university’s four faculties: Applied and Computer Science; Engineering and Technology; Humanities; and Management Sciences.

Significant developments at the university during the past decade include the following. In 1999, a high-voltage laboratory was opened, making it a leader in the field of electrical engineering, and in particular in power cable research. More recently, in 2006, the university became a founder member of the South African Technology Network that links the country’s six universities of technology into a powerful co-operative bloc.

Facts and Figures  at a Glance1

The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) is a contact institution. There were 16,146 contact students enrolled in 2007. Of the student body, 14,693 were full-time students and 1,453 part-time. Of these, 14,781 were South African citizens while 909 were from other SADC countries and 456 from non-SADC countries (actual data, 2007).

Table 1: Vaal University of Technology - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2007)


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree Other qualifications (short courses, certificates etc.)
Science, Engineering & Technology 8,346 7,633 639 60 12 2
Business, Management & Law 6,743 4,585 627 93 10 1,428
Humanities and Social Sciences 1,057 1,021 31 5 0 0
TOTALS 16,146 13,239 1,297 158 22 1,430

Source: Vaal University of Technology questionnaire response

Of the academic and research staff employed in 2007, 303 were South African citizens, 17 were citizens of SADC countries, and five were residents from non-SADC countries (actual data, 2007). The University employed 443 South African citizens and eight SADC country residents as management and administrative staff (actual data, 2007). No breakdown was provided of the distribution of staff according to faculty and gender.

[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.