First climate studies school to be launched at S African university

Fakir Hassen
·2-min read

Johannesburg, Apr 28 (PTI) South Africa-based Stellenbosch University (SU) has announced the establishment of the country’s first School for Climate Studies that would be be officially launched in June 2021.

It will be the first school of its kind that has the full status of a faculty.

The vision of the School is to be a world-class institution for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary climate and related studies in and for Africa, the university said in a statement.

Its aim is also to support and encourage research partnerships with other entities, both nationally and internationally,” the statement added.

“Stellenbosch University has the expertise to lead the way through research and innovation, and has already done cutting-edge research on, for instance, renewable energy. Stellenbosch is also leading the field in the move towards a carbon-neutral university,' said Prof Eugene Cloete, SU's Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU.

“South Africa is a major contributor to greenhouse gases on the African continent. It has become essential to move towards a greener economy,” Cloete added.

The School will conduct research, coordinate curricula development and facilitate postgraduate training, advice and consultancy as well as technology transfer in the multiple fields of climate studies.

This will be achieved by engaging a network of researchers at SU and other universities, institutions and organisations in South Africa and abroad to actively collaborate on climate studies and their application.

Cloete said the development of new undergraduate and postgraduate climate studies curricula (modules) has already commenced, while the university was also in the process of developing a master's degree in climate studies to build high-level capacity in this field.

“South Africa and the African continent desperately need human capacity to deal with climate change, from policymaking level in government to the implementation of practical solutions to mitigate climate change.

“The move towards a green economy will create many new careers in engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, renewable energy and research into the fundamental drivers of climate change. Virtually every industry will be affected,' Cloete concluded.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, welcomed the launch of the School.

“The establishment of an academic School focusing on climate change is a potentially promising step to enable our academics and students to build a well-rounded body of scientific knowledge and skills to enable not only a better understanding of the problems, but also sustainable responses to a new horizon of challenges facing humanity,” the minister said.

“I hope this will set a trend for our other universities and colleges to establish similar initiatives focusing on various aspects of the multi-sectoral and multidimensional challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and its interconnectedness with other social and natural phenomena,” Nzimande added. PTI FH RUP RUP