Some of us who found ourselves in the jam packed Jamieson Hall last Saturday, had been privy to the Universty of Cape Town's annual College of Music concert hosted by Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price. Hence previous impressions, when much tapping of feet was heard as the head of this institution performed a sax solo to the rhythmic beat of the resident jazz band.
On this occasion however, parents who had made their way through the leafy upper campus on what used to be Rhodes Estate at the foot of Devils Peak, were witness to a profound verbal address.
Thought provoking messages rang home the value of long term planning in many respects, if not the importance of where we choose to live while we pay for the 12 to 16 years it takes to educate our offspring. It also highlighted the realisation that institutions such as these continue to attract high demand for residential property in close vicinity. In this case to the main campus in Rondebosh, plus the three satellite campuses of Health Sciences in Observatory, the Hiddingh Campus in Gardens for Fine Art, Film, Media and Drama, and the Breakwater Campus of the Graduate School of Business, at the V & A Waterfront.
What also sprung to mind was that one’s mere presence at this event held at a valuable state-owned property, reflects an active participation in what our city offers us, as taxpaying citizens. A reminder also, that Government owned tertiary institutions are subsidised partly from our personal taxes, in this case a total of R1.0002-million. The balance of UCT’s funding comes from student fees that in 2011 totalled R735-million, plus heavy financial support from private business of R23-million. In the first half of 2012 a total of 25 500 students enrolled, with 5000 staff members employed across six faculties.
World class ratings resulting from high level joint efforts ensure that expectations of a superior quality education, cutting edge research and transparent fiscal management, are met. Some parents have reached this stage of their children’s education, through adequate financial preparation, that may also include the purchase of residential property to facilitate the process. Others less fortunate seek alternative funding from loans and bursaries.
Price said that constant growth in student numbers, both from local and out of town areas, as well as African countries and other global areas, is contributing to the shortage of resident accommodation at the university. This he said has resulted in additional funds allocated for the building of more university residences. Alternative accommodation arrangements come at a premium in these areas, where property prices are already at a premium due to high demand.
Also investing into the future by way of a long term view, is private property developer Rawson Developers, catering for the student and young professional market in neighbouring areas to tertiary institutions. Managing Director Paul Henry says: ”As a result of Rawson Developers’ high profile activities in the Rondebosch area, the company is increasingly approached by homeowners wishing to sell their homes.”He says Rawson Developers have been able to acquire land for new projects in the Rondebosch and Claremont precincts, with at least three new developments to occupy the Rawson construction team until 2015.
All round, learning more of how tertiary education will benefit future generations of this country, as well as increasing demand for residential areas close to institutions, was fair trade for musical excellence.