University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, has called on African universities to unite and conduct research that would provide a roadmap for Africa’s development. Professor Norris was speaking during a University of Botswana delegation’s visit to the University of Zambia (UNZA) this week.
He advised universities in Africa to take kin interest in the African Union (AU) development agenda in that they should be at the forefront to influence development of a roadmap through research.
Professor Norris noted that the AU Development Agenda 2036 was partly informed by research from the west. Conversely, he said Africa’s development agenda should instead be influenced by research from African universities. The Vice Chancellor said research from Africa would have given the AU agenda a localised context by taking into account the environment and cultures of the African people.
Africa is endowed with human resources that are capable of being at the forefront of Africa’s development. As such, Professor Norris advised African universities to undertake interdisciplinary research that could create new knowledge to transition the continent into a knowledge economy.
Professor Norris also spoke about UB undergoing transformation into a high-performance organisation. The transformation, he noted, was geared towards improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the university.
Other issues the Vice Chancellor spoke about included plans by the University of Botswana to increase access to education which he said the two universities could collaborate on to improve online training.
For his part, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Richard Tabulawa, noted that Intercultural understanding was a critical component of a 21st Century graduate. That was because he said the world of work demanded well-rounded graduates.
Professor Tabulawa observed integrating diverse cultural knowledge was integral in the production of well-rounded graduates. As such, he said the University of Botswana and University of Zambia should collaborate on student exchange programmes.
Commenting, UNZA Vice Chancellor, Professor Annie Sikwibele, said the university had a student population of 28 000. She observed that UNZA’s niche area was in graduate programmes, with 195 graduate programmes across disciplines. Professor Sikwibele also said UNZA had strong linkages with industry with regard to research funding, provision of scholarships and infrastructure development.