Strategic Transformation of Education Programmes and Structures

STEPS – the Strategic Transformation of Education Programmes and Structures – is a massive and concerted undertaking mandated by Senate to give substance to Vision 2020. Vision 2020 envisages CUT as a new-generation institution, contributing to the development of the region and beyond, through adopting an output and impact focus and building sustained partnerships with business, government and industry.

STEPS Committee - final brainstorm session at the end of 2011.

STEPS Committee – final brainstorm session at the end of 2011.


Taking its orientation from this vision, the STEPS process started with a large conference in mid-2010, to explore the distinctive nature of a university of technology, and to hear the expectations of employers of CUT graduates. The key insights from the conference were taken into a workshop of some 100 CUT academics and management staff in August 2010. The workshop delegates, though intra- and inter-faculty discussion, identified key strengths and weaknesses in CUT qualifications and processes, and important areas for further consideration. By end-year these priorities had been assigned to eighteen inter-faculty task teams of CUT academics, mandated to research the topic assigned to them and to propose recommendations to address the issues.

The STEPS Project is an astonishing undertaking spanning the entire university curricula. “STEPS will stretch our thinking and expose us to new ideas”, said Prof. Thandwa Mthembu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal and STEPS champion at the beginning of 2010 and the start of the project.

Several of the task teams formulated subsequent to the workshop were briefed to look at rationalisation and innovation within the four Faculties. Others were to explore the viability of several new problem–oriented, career-focused, interdisciplinary curricula that had been identified at the workshop. Yet others were briefed to explore and make recommendations on university-wide matters such as the admission of underprepared students, innovative teaching and learning, Work Integrated Learning (WIL), continuing education and inter-Faculty research. In this way STEPS has involved the majority of academics at CUT in some way or another for past eighteen months, shaping innovations to implement Vision 2020.

Qualifications identified by process

All the identified qualifications and newly curriculated programmes have been firstly submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training, and then to the Council on Higher Education (CHE) for approval.




Agricultural Extension Officer Advanced Diploma SAQA Approved (28 March 2014)
Community Development Work Higher Certificate SAQA Approved (28 July 2014)
Dental Assisting Higher Certificate Approved (4 July 2013)
Design and Studio Art Diploma Approved (15 May 2013)
Health Management Advanced Diploma Pending…
Hydrology and Water Management Bachelor of Science SAQA Approved (28 July 2014)
Logistics and Transportation Management Advanced Diploma SAQA Approved (30 May 2014)
Radiography in Diagnostics Bachelor of Radiography Approved (15 May 2013)
Renewable Energy Technologies Higher Certificate Approved (4 July 2013)
Senior Phase and FET Teaching Bachelor of Education Approved by DHET (1 July 2014), CHE pending…
Sustainable Energy Diploma SAQA Approved (28 March 2014)

See more detail on process of qualification re-curricularisation to become demand-driven and user-oriented.

Additional Outcomes

  • Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) is in the process of being introduced into all programmes.
  • A core curriculum to assist CUT in getting a broad-based understanding of important fields have been introduced. This academic endeavour is to prepare the students to be broad-minded, creative, innovative, productive, and versatile graduates.

Results Achieved

STEPS and other curriculum development initiatives have improved the relevance, excellence and quality of the academic programmes.

  • Engineering programmes at CUT have been accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

- Steve Lyons, Registrar of the SACQSP, a quantity surveying professional organisation, had this to say in 2013: “CUT is currently the best UoT in QS in SA”.

- In its accreditation report on a number of engineering programmes, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) had this to say in 2012: “…the first time since 2008 that a Civil Engineering Programme obtained an outright accreditation during a single visit…”

  • Students throughput success rate at CUT continues to improve.  In 2012 the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) target of 75% was exceeded. CUT reached 77%. It was confirmed that in 2012 CUT had the best graduation rate of the six Universities of Technology (UoTs).


Contact us

Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Research

Updated: 27 August 2014

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