The Student Representative Council (SRC) embarked on a benchmarking tour last week to universities in the Western Cape.

According to SRC President Mthokozisi Nkosi, the SRC bench-marking tour will enable them to visit other institutions across the country to gather information and use this information to improve the University of Pretoria and the functionality of the SRC.

“Benchmarking is a very important exercise that the SRC must embark on as stipulated in the constitution of student governance. It gives the SRC an opportunity to be able to learn from other SRCs at different institutions in the country: how their SRCs tackle certain issues and overcome certain challenges,” he said.

Nkosi added that they will be visiting the University of Cape Town (UCT), Stellenbosch University (SU) and The Western Cape University (WCU) during this tour. “We are also going to Wits and UJ later in the year,” he said.

The SRC launched the SRC Study Aid Fund earlier this year and this fund, according to Nkosi, is similar to UCT’s bailout fund. The SRC Study Aid Fund provides students with money to buy textbooks. Nkosi said that “[T] he UCT fund is self-sufficient, and therefore doesn’t require the UCT SRC to always pour a certain portion of their budget into it […] the SRC thought it is best to go to UCT to discuss how they are able to ensure that the fund generates its own money, the challenges they face on [a] yearly basis and how they control the fund.” Similarly, the SRC is going to visit SU to see how they manage their student centre, Die Neelsie, where both day and residence students are able to buy food and eat their meals. Nkosi said that he hopes that they will be able to use SU’s Neelsie as a model to improve problems that the Kloostersaal is experiencing with the number of students that are using its facilities this year. “At Stellenbosch, we are also looking into exploring their general student life and residences,” he added. Nkosi said that the tour will ensure that the SRC will be able to implement new initiatives to satisfy UP students’ needs. “[O]ur SRC has to […] make sure [that] we learn from those who have walked the path before so that we do not experience the same problems as other institutions have, thereby ensuring that our fellow Tukkies are best taken care of.”

Nkosi said that the knowledge they gather will provide the SRC with the platform they need to make their slogan “Making 2012 the year of the student” come true.

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