Summer school's long history at UCT

27 July 2015
Madosini performing at a concert celebrating the end of Summer School in 2015.
Madosini performing at a concert celebrating the end of Summer School in 2015.

Celebrating its 65th anniversary, UCT's annual Summer School has grown from seven courses and an enrolment of barely 120 participants in 1950 to well over 3 000 participants with over 60 courses to choose from in 2015.

Summer School is organised by the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) and throws open the hallowed halls of UCT to people from all walks of life – not just students. It has a reputation for attracting prominent South African intellectuals as lecturers – including Uys Krige, AC Jordan, Helen Suzman, ZK Matthews and Antjie Krog.

Making Summer School happen – usually in January, before the start of the academic year – is not the only service EMS renders. It is also responsible for the July School, a joint initiative between UCT and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), consisting of a range of short, university-level courses presented over two weeks. The fi rst July School was held in 2013 with the third LSE-UCT July School taking place at UCT in 2015.

EMS also breathes life into the Summer School Extension Programme, which in 2014 included a lecture series on the human brain. Some of the topics that attendants of this series explored were sex and the brain, how drugs shape your brain, and how your brain ages (and what to do about it). In 2015, the extension programme ranges across a wide spectrum, including lectures on the history of children?s poetry, Boko Haram, the novels of JM Coetzee, rare birds and the planet Ceres. EMS has also launched Fine Minds, a series of fi ve annual lectures by outstanding academics presented on Fine Music Radio.

"We make available continuing education courses for working people and offer specialised programmes for visiting international students such as the University of York group who will join us in July," says Medeé Rall, EMS director.

Story by Abigail Calata. Photo by Michael Hammond.

Monday Monthly Read more stories from the July 2015 edition.

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