South Africa — The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has added yet another niche programme to its excisting Higher Certificate in Veldfire Management.
An array of qualifications is being offered within the School of Natural Resource Management (SNRM).
These qualifications will ensure that graduates are competent to work as veldfire managers in government, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, such as fire protection associations, as well as the organized forestry and conservation sector
Modules on fire management are already embedded in three existing programmes, and the addition of a formal Higher Certificate in Veldfire Management (HCVM) from the beginning of 2014 will complement the existing programme and qualification mix, says Prof Jos Louw, director of the School of Natural Resource Management at George campus. Furthermore, a learning programme of this nature is unique in the southern African context, and is set to strengthen the already well-established niche of the SNRM in the sub-continent.
The SNRM forms part of the four Schools in the Science Faculty of the NMMU which currently presents a cluster of five related academic programmes, namely forestry, wood technology, agricultural management, nature conservation and game ranch management.
Full-time and part-time options The good news for potential students in this field is that this qualification can either be followed as a full-time one-year course at an undergraduate level, or on a limited attendance (block-release) basis over two years.
The full-time option is expected to attract younger prospects with an interest in the field, or those who would like to use the programme as stepping stones to formal diploma and subsequent degree studies at NMMU.
Some credits will be earned towards the diploma programmes offered within NMMUs School of Natural Resource Management.
The limited attendance (part-time) programme will be completed over a two-year period, and is aimed at persons who already have a qualification; or persons who have practical experience in the arena of veldfire management, but with no formal qualification in this field.
Programme focus and career opportunities The curriculum and modules of the HCVM are designed to focus on technical as well as strategic and tactical aspects of veldfire management, critical success factors to suppress and prevent veldfires and to protect assets against veldfires. It complements the holistic approach to the management of natural resources, providing students with relevant knowledge and theoretical and practical skills, experience and expertise demanded of the natural resource practitioner, specifically in the discipline of veldfire management.
This programme, amongst others, covers the applicable legislation relevant to veldfire management, and will empower students to use technology, engineering concepts and infrastructure effectively for veldfire management.
Admission requirements Admission requirements apply for prospective learners who are in possession of a national senior certificate, a senior certificate or national certificate vocational (NCV). Access to higher education will also be promoted through the option of the admissions test, as supplement to the normal admissions points score.
Furthermore, students without a NSC certificate providing for degree or diploma entry, can after successful completion of the higher certificate, progress to diploma level programmes in related natural resource management disciplines Recognition of prior learning can also be considered for access to the programme, according to the relevant NMMU policy.