The opportunities for personal enrichment abound at UCT’s 64th annual Summer School, which is being held from 20 to 31 January.

With a galaxy of history, art, politics and science courses on offer – there is literally ‘something for everyone’.

“A key aim of the programme is making the University’s knowledge resources accessible to a broad and diverse audience,” says Medeé Rall, director of UCT’s Centre of Open Learning (COL) which hosts the Summer School programme. “That is one of the reasons why we are including courses such as hip-hop activism.”

Associate Professor Adam Haupt will be presenting the latter course and exploring hip-hop’s role in engaging South Africans creatively and politically, and observing how local hip-hop artists have contributed to debates about commercial co-option, race, gender and other identity politics.

Oiling the cogs: Students get stuck into a stimulating discussion at the 2012 Summer School, and the 2014 season promises more of the same, with a vast range of short courses and lectures on offer.

Elsewhere on the roster, the perennial debate between science and religion takes a twist, with Professor Anwar Mall presenting arguments for their peaceful and productive coexistence, with science dealing with the ‘how’ of life and religion the meaning.

In addition to courses on specialised topics, Rall emphasises that the Summer School offers courses “that engage with current social and political issues” – such as the ‘politics of poo’ and transformation in higher education – will also be on the table. Education and transformation experts, Professors Jonathan Jansen and Crain Soudien, UCT’s Deputy-Vice Chancellor responsible for transformation, will lead that discussion.

COL is eager for students to register for courses that pique their interest, and has extended special invitations to international students through the International Academic Programmes Office.

The courses and lectures are open to all, with no entrance requirements, says Rall. “Course fees range from R19.00 to R375.00, and UCT students and staff get a discount.”

Of the 60 courses on offer, sixteen have been fully booked as of 14 January, with 2 250 people filling about 7 400 registrations between them, and there are many seats still available.

Not that sitting down in lecture halls are all the summer school students will be doing. “There will be bookshops, exhibitions and the Development and Alumni Department will be manning a stall outside lecture venues,” says Rall.

Shortly after the Summer School programme has officially ended on 31 January, COL is hosting a short course entitled Living Longer: Living Well. “What is unusual about this course is that it makes use of one of the University’s museums – the Irma Stern Museum – for the last session and that the course is a hybrid course in that it is lecture based, has an interactive session and an optional excursion,” Rall says.

Hosted by UCT’s Centre for Open Learning (COL), Summer School is a public education programme open to all, regardless of formal qualifications. For more information on how to register for one – or more – of the dozens of courses, visit the Summer School website.

Article issued by University of Cape Town