Nature Conservation Department to incorporate entrepreneurship in its curriculum

Dr Sibonelo Mbanjwa, standing, front, and his students

The following is going to be music in the ears of the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcus Ramogale; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE), Professor Nokuthula Sibiya; MUT Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Ntombifuthi Mthembu; Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Dr Bheka Ntshangase; and many other MUT staff and students. All these MUT staff and students are involved in promoting business at the University.

Dr Sibonelo Mbanjwa, a Lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation, took fove of his students to a business summit on 26 April 2024 at KwaMakhutha Township, Durban. The annual event was hosted by Durban Municipality SMME, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Innovate Durban, ADAMS & ADAMS, United States of America- US Consulate General Durban and Companies and Intellectual Property Commission; and was attended by local schools – KwaMakhutha High School, Nsimbini High School, Umkhumbi High School, and MUT’s Department of Nature Conservation.

Dr Mbanjwa said the Entrepreneur Summit provided a wealth of knowledge and opportunities that can greatly benefit students as they embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. The department will soon be rolling out a newly revised curriculum that will incorporate entrepreneurship.

The Head of the Department, Professor Kuben Naidoo, said the department has recognized the need to embrace a curriculum that is relevant and synchronised to the particularities of Africa. The incorporation of an entrepreneurship module in the Bachelor of Applied Sciences programme was to develop the students’ existing knowledge on how a business is started and managed successfully. The module seeks to empower students by providing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to achieve entrepreneurial success in different ways. These may include setting up a travel agency, establishing a tour guiding service, establishing a restaurant, building a cultural village, establishing an arts and cultural centre, and developing an adventure centre.

Professor Naidoo said they had renewed optimism that entrepreneurship could be successfully incorporated into other programmes like the Diploma in Nature Conservation to make students more marketable and valued in the industry.

According to Dr Mbanjwa, “integrating key principles of entrepreneurship into our educational framework, we are empowering our students to think innovatively, act decisively, and create value in an ever-evolving business landscape. We can integrate the latest trends and technologies discussed at the summit into our curriculum, ensuring that our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in today’s entrepreneurial landscape”.

Dr Mbanjwa is very happy that his students will benefit from the summit because it provided invaluable networking opportunities for professionals across various industries. Dr Mbanjwa said he had a chance to connect with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders. One of the summit items was discussions on emerging trends and technologies shaping the entrepreneurial landscape. Some of these were AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain for sustainability and social entrepreneurship. The sessions also provided a comprehensive overview of the latest developments and opportunities in the field.