My PMB Blog
How does the University of KwaZulu-Natal rate?
Blog 021 - 30 July 2012


There are a number of issues relating to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) that concern me. When I am able to engage others regarding these issues, I am always prepared to do so.

Recently there has been correspondence regarding the status of UKZN, published in the Witness. This has prompted me to try and address one of the issues I am concerned about, namely the standing of UKZN with regard to research performance, within the South African University context. I have done so in the form of a mock (note, not mockery) academic paper, as it seemed to suit my purposes. You can read the PDF version here, and a HTML (WWW) version here.

I was an undergraduate at Natal University. I then worked at Natal University, subsequently UKZN, until my recent retirement. I enjoyed both experiences tremendously, and benefited hugely from them as well. With respect to Prof Makgoba, I admired his efforts to improve the research profile of UKZN, in particular his view that every academic should have a PhD, but publish as well. That said, I did not entirely agree with the publication expectation. My view is that space should be created for teachers to flourish, even at the expense of publications.

If Prof Makgoba did disappoint me, it would be because at times he did not seem to be prepared to engage with those academics who were not aligned with his own thinking. That seemed to fly in the face of what I would consider to be the essential ethos of a good university, and certainly one that claimns to be, "The Premier Univesity of African Scholarship".

The mock paper was produced on my iMac using Aquamacs (Emacs) to type up the Latex file, LaTeX to convert it to DVI, SKIM to view and finally export the DVI to PDF. SimpleTeX4ht was used to convert the Latex file to HTML, not perfectly, but good enough to display the paper on the WWW. These tools are close to my heart and can be found in the public domain. Visit the Free Software Foundation.

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