Vaal University of Technology was originally founded as a College for Advanced Technical Education in 1966. It became a Technikon in 1979. The University celebrates in 2014 its 10th anniversary as a University of Technology whose aspiration and strategy are encapsulated in its Vision and Mission Statement. The Technikon Act of 1993 empowered the University to provide degree studies and confer Technikon degrees at three levels; namely, Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral. The qualifications were to be designated as National High¬er Diploma/B Tech degree, a Master's Diploma in Technology/M Tech degree and Laureatus in Technology/D Tech degree. These qualifications were understood to be different in character to the degrees offered by traditional universities. The change of status to a Technikon presented a significant challenge for the University. It entailed a shift from an institution concerned with “preparing students for a particular occupation or industry that are oriented towards the practice, promotion and transfer of technology” to one, which disseminates knowledge through teaching, and facilitates acquisition of knowledge through learning, re-search and scientific enquiry.
The new status as a UoT has inspired the University to compete with other universities by, in addition to teaching and learning, embracing research, community outreach, public service and other cultural activities consistent with university tradition. This is done while retaining and deepening the rich Technikon strength in co-operative education.