University of Johannesburg: UJ and leading Mozambican universities to strengthen collaboration with joint teaching and learning initiatives

A high-level delegation from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) visited Maputo, Mozambique, this week (15 March 2022) to strengthen relations with the executive leadership of two leading universities in that country, Universidade Eduardo Modlane and Universidade Joaquin Chissano. The two universities are named after two of Mozambique’s foremost liberation struggle heroes, Eduardo Modlane and Joaquin Chissano.

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, led the delegation on a two-day visit (15 March – 16 March 2022), which was aimed at exploring opportunities for collaborations in exchange programmes in the areas of research, staff development, digitisation and resources mobilisation. Joining Prof. Marwala was Professor Saurabh Sinha (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation), Dr Nolitha Vukuza (Senior Executive Director: University Relations, Student Affairs & UJ Sport), Prof. Nadine Petersen (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education), Prof Annie Temane (Vice-dean: Research and Innovation, Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) and Mr Thokozane Mbonane (incoming Head of Dept.: Environmental Health, FHS).

During the visit to the Universidade Joaquin Chissano, discussions were centred around opportunities in new academic units, research, joint programmes and curriculum development. There was consensus that general inclusion of online programmes are essential for the Maputo-based university to help with their Learning and Teaching as this was an area of concern. Issues of fundraising and infrastructure were also discussed with the aim of creating partnerships with both the private sector and government units.

The Universidade Eduardo Mondlane leadership raised the issue of challenges the university face with access to higher education in Mozambique. While it is the preferred university in that country, the university can only accommodate up to 5 000 students from approximately an average of 20 000 applicants a year.

As part of its strategy to overcome these challenges, the university plans to introduce distant, online programmes and forge partnerships in research projects. The institution also plans to focus on internationalisation to develop a cooperation policy that will better position the university on the continent.

Prof Marwala discussed the importance of identifying the areas of common interest and priorities for the SADC region in particular. He mentioned problems of immigration, the need for skills development, increased digitization, Food, Water and Energy Security, and Health.

The delegates also discussed research funding opportunities, the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) integration across all disciplines and introducing compulsory courses like African Insights for a better understanding of the continent across universities.

The UJ delegation was presented with cultural gifts that included artworks and a collection of poetry.

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