Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education

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The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (abbreviated PU for CHE) was a medium-sized South African university located in Potchefstroom. Tuition was mainly in Afrikaans. In 2004, the university was merged with other institutions to create the North-West University, and became the Potchefstroom Campus of the newly merged university.


Potchefstroom University Library (old postcard)

Potchefstroom University developed out of the Theological School of the Reformed Churches in South Africa (Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika in Afrikaans, abbreviated as GKSA), which was founded on 29 November 1869 in Burgersdorp, Cape Province. At the founding meeting, it was decided that education would also be offered to prospective teachers and to persons without any particular profession in mind.

Initially, there were only five students and two lecturers.

In 1877 a "Literary Department" was established, with one professor, with the specific aim of educating students for academic degrees or as teachers.

In 1905, the Theological School, including the Literary Department, was transferred from Burgersdorp to Potchefstroom in the Transvaal.

In order to qualify for government subsidies, the Literary Department was separated from the Theological School in 1919 and the Potchefstroom University College for Christian Higher Education (Het Potchefstroom Universiteitskollege voor Christelijk Hooger Onderwijs in Dutch, and usually abbreviated as PUK) came into being. It was decided that the PUK would be a higher education institute separate and independent from the GKSA, although the PUK would continue to train GKSA ministers.

In 1921, the Potchefstroom University College (without the "for Christian Higher Education" suffix), was incorporated into the University of South Africa; the PUK only got the "for Christian Higher Education" part of its name back in 1933.

The Potchefstroom University College for Christian Higher Education was officially recognised as an independent university and was renamed the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in 1951.

In 1993, Private Law status was established. In 1998, the statutes of the PUK were amended in order to enable her to better fulfill her role as part of the co-ordinated higher education system in South Africa according to her original mandate as an institution of Christian higher education.

The Vaal Triangle Campus of the University was established in Vanderbijlpark in 1966 in order to provide that area with tertiary education.

By 1996, the first online courses were offered. Students were offered interactive courses, the systematic application of multimedia. To facilitate the learning process, over 25 study centres were established country-wide.[1]

On 1 January 2000, the Potchefstroom Onderwyskollege was incorporated with the Potchefstroom University's Potchefstroom campus.

In 2004 the Potchefstroom University became one of the three campuses of the new North-West University, the others being in Mafikeng and Vaal (situated in Vanderbijlpark). The fourth campus, Mankwe, was closed by end of 2004.

Notable alumni[edit]






  1. ^ "NWU, Potchefstroom Campus, History of the Potchefstroom Campus". Nwu.ac.za. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  2. ^ Douw Steyn SA, B.Sc (QS). "Douw Steyn SA, B.Sc (QS): Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  3. ^ "R250m Palazzo Steyn reflects "my confidence in SA's future"". Biznews.com. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2017-05-11.