A CUT above the rest
CUT is always one step ahead, always Thinking Beyond…
Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) is the foremost higher education institution
in the heartland of South Africa, dedicated to quality education and training in science,
engineering and technology. Over the past 30 years the CUT has developed into a leading
institution able to take its place in the national as well as international higher education
CUT, then still known as the Technikon Free State, opened its doors in 1981 with 285
students enrolled in mainly secretarial, art and design programmes. This year the university
boasts more than 11 000 students who have decided to make CUT their academic partner in earning
a qualification and gaining appropriate experiential training. With the restructuring of the
higher education landscape a few years ago, CUT embraced its new status as a university of
technology and thus positioned itself to succeed as such. On 26 March 2004 the former
Technikon Free State officially exchanged its “technikon” status for a tailor-made identity
when its new name was published in the Government Gazette – a name that is a true reflection
of what the university stands for: Central University of Technology, Free State.
CUT’s history – from its humble beginnings to the proud institution it is today – is
reflected in its buildings. The unoccupied buildings of the Commercial High School in St
George Street, leased in 1981, soon became too small and a second building in President
Brand Street was occupied. In 1988 the university purchased the former premises of the
Eunice Primary School campus of the Bloemfontein College of Education. Before long these
were followed by the Main Building (today known as the ZR Mahabane Building), the
bhpBilliton Building, which houses a large portion of the Faculty of Engineering and
Information Technology, the Dirk Coetzee Building, which houses the Faculty of Health
and Environmental Sciences, the Prosperitas Auditorium as well as the Boet Troskie Hall
and a modern Library and Information Service. The Lapeng Student Centre is a hub of
student activity that not only renders a valuable service with regard to the students’
requirements, but also ensures that they enjoy every aspect of student life to the full.
This Centre is equipped with an amphitheatre as well as a cafeteria where students can socialise.
However, it would be a pity if an institution’s progress could be measured only by its
state-of the-art facilities. At CUT, progress and transformation go hand in hand. Within
our institutional culture, CUT can also be described in terms of the needs experienced
within an African context. CUT boasts a diverse student community that is a true reflection
of the demographic composition. The implementation of an employment equity plan also
guarantees that the academic and support staff are representative in nature. CUT currently
employs 1 582 staff members.
CUT offers a wide range of qualifications in its four faculties, namely the Faculty of
Engineering and Information Technology, the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences,
and the Faculty of Management Sciences, and the Faculty of Humanities.
The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology houses the School of Civil
Engineering and Built Environment, the School of Electrical and Computer Systems
Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, the School
of Information Technology. The Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, in turn,
consists of the School of Health Technology and the School of Agriculture and Environmental
Sciences, while the Faculty of Management Sciences offers learning programmes in the School
for Entrepreneurship and Business Development, the School of Accounting, the School of
Government Management, and the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Sport.
CUT’s newly established (2010) Faculty of Humanities consists of the School
of Design Technology and Visual Art, the School of Jewellery Design, the School
of Teacher Education, and the School of Communication Sciences.
CUT also commands respect with its relevant research. Units/Centres such as the:
- Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM);
- Technology Station and the Fablab are widely recognised for the research conducted;
- Unit for Applied Food Safety and Biotechnology (UAFSB);
- Centre for Environment, Community and Industrial Development (CECID);
- Centre for Health Sciences (cover HIV/Aids research);
- Catchment Management Information Systems, and the
- Sleep Laboratory.
CUT is also the only University of Technology accepted to be a full member of the
newly-established National Medical Device Innovation Platform (MDIP). A Postgraduate School
was also established to develop and manage research at postgraduate level.
From its inception the institution has been aware of its social responsibility towards
the broader community. The Science Park was established in 1999 to allow the community
access to the institution’s technology and applied research. The Science Park is in
effect a bridge between CUT’s expertise on the one hand, and the community that stands
to benefit on the other. By making technology and expertise available to the entrepreneur,
the development of new business in the region is encouraged and jobs are created
The university is aware of the fact that not everyone has the privilege to study at
the main campus on a full-time basis. Therefore, selected learning programmes are offered
at the regional learning centres in Welkom and Kimberley. An exciting development
was CUT’s incorporation of the Welkom campus of Vista University on 2 January 2004.
Learning programmes in Kimberly are offered in conjunction with the Northern Cape Higher
Education Institute. Through the utilisation of modern technology, some learning
programmes can also be pursued electronically via the internet. In this way CUT is
living up to its status and reputation as a university of technology.
CUT has a new Vision and strategic trajectory for the year 2020, and the Vision
statement is “By 2020, Central University of Technology, Free State, shall be an
engaged university that focuses on producing quality social and technological
innovations in socio-economic developments, primarily in the Central region of
South Africa”. CUT remains committed to the core values of customer service,
integrity, diversity, innovation and excellence, as well as the institutions
This year, the institution is celebrating its 30th year of technological innovation -
soaring to 2020 and our new Vision. This milestone is a reflection of the university’s
pursuit of quality education and academic excellence. In our efforts to educate,
teach and train our students with the aid of world class technology, we will also
focus on those values we hold dear, namely customer service, excellence, innovation,
integrity and diversity.