Johannesburg: An Indian-origin professor has been appointed as Vice-Chancellor of one of South Africa`s internationally-renowned academic institutions.
Prof Adam Habib has been named as Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The university is popularly known as Wits.
"(Prof Habib) has been selected to lead the university in confronting challenging social and economic realities, at the same time ensuring that the work of the university is grounded in making sense of these realities," said South African Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom.
Habib, joining Wits in its 91st year, conceded that his task as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University will be fraught with challenges.
"Building and managing any university is challenging in the 21st century, but undertaking this responsibility in South Africa is an even more onerous one. This is because the managerial challenges tend to be all the more acute," Habib said.
"Structural poverty and inequality seep across institutional boundaries and force the University`s executive to confront challenges such as starving students and residential overcrowding," Habib said.
Habib announced a brand new equality scholarship programme for the top disadvantaged learners in the country.
"We will introduce the Vice-Chancellor`s equality scholarship targeted at the top students in schools that are the most marginalised and depressed in the country," said Habib.
"Top students from these schools ? merit is still retained ? will be given a similar fully funded scholarship, to ensure that talented students from economically marginalised communities are also given access to Wits," he said.
Habib has been an academic as well as a renowned political media commentator and columnist for the past three decades.