Mining education in South Africa - Past, present and future

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 92, No. 1033, 1999

H.R. Phillips, Department of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

At the end of a century of mining education in South Africa, it is appropriate to reflect on the past, take stock of the present and ponder the future of mining education. While it is likely that changes in the mining industry will generate an increased demand for mining graduates, the number of suitably qualified applicants to study mining is worryingly small. While good progress has been made in unifying the educational system that previously provided schooling on a racially separate basis, it appears that a decade or more will be required to raise competency levels in mathematics, science and English, and this paper describes the process as it affects mining engineering programs. It also describes the initiatives currently being undertaken by the University of the Witwatersrand and the mining industry to ensure that the South African industry receives an adequate flow of well-qualified mining graduates, despite more than 70% of the intake coming from severely disadvantaged educational backgrounds.
Keywords: Education