Fellowship fillip for next generation of leaders

14 May 2014 | Story by Newsroom
UCT alumnus Klaus-Jürgen Bathe and Prof Alphose Zingoni.
UCT alumnus Klaus-Jürgen Bathe and Prof Alphose Zingoni.

Nearly R10 million has been made available for UCT students from all six faculties that display leadership potential and who wish to not only fund their studies but develop their leadership skills.

The Klaus-Jürgen Bathe Leadership Programme, signed into being in March this year, will fund selected full-time undergraduate students for five years to the tune of R120 000 per annum. This will cover the students' tuition, residential fees (including meals) and allowances for books, stationery and transport.

Students that have passed their first year of study with a minimum aggregate of 60% can apply to enrol in the Leadership Programme. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by a selection committee and will be required to present a seminar as part of the selection process.

Successful candidates will receive full financial support for the remainder of their studies. The first cohort of students is expected to take up the awards with effect from January 2015.

Honing leadership skills

The cherry on top is that the selected students will read additional UCT courses geared specifically toward honing their leadership skills. In the second year of the fellowship, the students will be required to spend up to six weeks attached to an approved organisation in either South Africa, Germany or the USA. These organisations could be government departments, national agencies or public institutions.

This, say programme organisers, is to provide Fellows with the opportunity to interact with successful leaders (not necessarily in the same field as their degree studies), and learn through observation how sound leadership plays a crucial role in the successful running of complex organizations, government departments and public institutions.

The Fellowship is a gift to the university from UCT alumnus Klaus-Jürgen Bathe, world-renowned Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology. Bathe and UCT's Professor Alphose Zingoni agreed over dinner last year that Africa's future prosperity would be secured if enough was invested in educating and nurturing a critical mass of young people to become excellent leaders.

Future leaders

Said Bathe about his vision for the programme: "The main focus will be on educating and nurturing promising UCT students to become future leaders in South Africa and the African continent, to produce graduates with excellent leadership qualities and with a strong sense of social justice, who will go on to play leading roles in government, society, business and industry. It is hoped that the graduates from the programme will be the South African leaders of tomorrow."

Zingoni was appointed director of the programme and is responsible for it delivering its objectives. A programme administrator will be appointed to manage its day-to-day affairs and serve as the Fellows' first port of call.

While the programme will initially fund ten students at a given time, plans are afoot to eventually triple that number, contingent on the first phase going according to plan.

"The Faculty of Engineering the Built Environment is proud to be associated with this university-wide initiative, and with Professor Bathe, one of our most distinguished alumni," says Professor Francis Petersen, dean of the faculty.

Bathe graduated from UCT in 1967 as the best student (gold medallist) in the Faculty of Engineering for that year, and was awarded an honorary DSc (Engineering) degree by UCT in 2013.

Story by staff reporter. Image supplied.

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