Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was established on 1 July, 2005 in terms of the Higher Education Act No 101 of 1997, as amended. WSU, a comprehensive university, resulted from the merger of the of Transkei (Unitra); Border Technikon and Eastern Cape Technikon. The new university was named in honour of an icon of the South African liberation struggle and close comrade of Nelson Mandela, the late Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu.

From 2002 to 2005, the South African higher education landscape underwent an extensive merger and incorporation process to bring about a more equitable dispensation to meet the requirements of a fast-developing new nation. The thirty-six universities and ‘technikons’ were merged in various ways to produce twenty-three universities in three categories:

1. Traditional academic universities;
2. Universities of Technology and
3. Comprehensive Universities (which offer both academic and technological qualifications).




WSU will maintain the traditional role of a University as a centre of higher learning, where theoretical and other intellectual pursuits are combined to serve a larger and more specific role it has defined as that of a Developmental University, ascribing to itself the imperative of making a significant contribution to regional, national and continental development.

WSU’s vision and mission is informed by the National and Provincial Growth and Development strategies including:

  • acting as a major regional resource centre of excellence in rural development and urban renewal;
  • providing access to knowledge to a diversity of learners and actors from mainly rural, poor and disadvantaged communities;
  • relevance to local, provincial, national and regional development through innovative curricula and learning processes, applied research and effective community partnership;
  • responsiveness to and alignment with internal and external imperatives;
  • alignment/re-engineering of faculty programmes with all applicable higher education policies and the university’s mission;
  • development of a student access, retention and throughput strategy;
  • embedding of quality in all the institution’s systems and practices;
  • ensuring the viability of the institution, including the diversification of revenue streams and
  • changing the institutional culture in a fundamental way to define new strategies to improve staff morale by embedding the core values of the institution.

Core Focus Areas


By its location, and its character as a comprehensive university, WSU is strategically located to respond to local and national development needs.

WSU embraces the following characteristics:

  • a diverse range of academic programmes;
  • student mobility through vertical and horizontal articulation;
  • work-related qualifications from certificates through to full degrees and post-graduate studies;
  • service to community, business and industry;
  • innovative, problem-solving research;
  • life-long learning opportunities and
  • flexibility by strengthening relationships with community, civic, government, business and industry partners for local and regional development.

WSU’s core business is Teaching, Research and Community Engagement


The four faculties are:

  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Business, Management Sciences and Law
  • Faculty of Education

These faculties offer a wide variety of programmes and qualifications ranging from certificates, diplomas and degrees to postgraduate studies.

The following programme focus areas are considered as priorities for development and redesign:

  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Health
  • Information Technology
  • Business Management
  • Education
  • Fashion and Art
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Agriculture (a future focus in the process of being established)  


WSU Vision


(WSU) will be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational, research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, national development priorities, and cognisant of continental and international imperatives.
WSU Mission Statement
In pursuit of its vision as a developmental university, WSU will:

  1. Provide an educationally vibrant and enabling environment that is conducive to the advancement of quality academic, moral, cultural and technological learner-centred education for holistic intellectual empowerment, growth and effective use of information;
  2. Provide and maintain the highest possible standards in innovative learning and teaching, applied, basic and community-based research and community partnerships in cooperation with development agencies, the public and private sectors;
  3. Provide affordable, appropriate, career-focused and professional programmes that address rural development and urban renewal with primary emphasis on science, technology and development studies;
  4. Create a new generation of highly-skilled graduates capable of understanding and addressing complex societal challenges, with critical scholarly and entrepreneurial attributes grounded on morally sound work ethics and responsible leadership.

Values of WSU


In pursuit of its Mission, WSU commits itself to the following values which are an affirmation of the eternal principles which will inform all dealings of the University:

  1. Academic Freedom: In line with our vision and mission as an accountable institution, we acknowledge our right to exercise academic freedom in a responsible way, in teaching and learning, in research and in community service.
  2. Quality: We commit to institution-wide quality management, value and reward excellence and uphold and protect the integrity of the University.
  3. Access and success: We provide equitable access to higher and continuing education at all stages of adult life to students who have a potential to succeed.
  4. Transformation: We are committed to addressing equity imperatives, diversity, and entrepreneurship and to democratic governance.
  5. People development: We are committed to the optimum development of the human resources potential and leadership capacity of all staff.
  6. Caring University: We commit to mutual respect, ubuntu, humility, good citizenship, student centredness and endorse and uphold all principles of Batho Pele*
  7. Resource Consciousness: We commit to utilising the University’s resources prudently and responsibly at all times with a view to adding maximum value to the institution.

*Batho Pele means People First:Batho Pele is a set of principles adopted by the public service as part of its commitment to quality service and customer care.



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