Minister Pandor to pay a two day visit to Rhodes University in Grahamstown
20 August 2008
The Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor will pay a two day visit to Rhodes University in Grahamstown, where she will take part in the University's South Africa-Norway Tertiary Education (SANTED) Programme day.
The Minister's visit is scheduled for Thursday, 21 August 2008 and Friday, 22 August 2008.
Hosted by Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Saleem Badat, Pandor's visit to Rhodes will involve an overview of the programmes currently being implemented to encourage a multi-cultural and multilingual approach to higher education.
These include attendance of: an isiXhosa course given to pharmacy students to assist them during the community service portion of their course; a tour of the School of African Languages; and an update on the research is currently being done by the SANTED team as well as a presentation on "An Intercultural Approach to implementing Multilingualism at Rhodes".
On Thursday, 21 August 2008, at 17h00, The Minister of Education will deliver an address on The Role of African Languages in Higher Education, at the Faculty of Humanities – School of African Languages, (Venue – Arts Major) Rhodes University.
The South African-Norwegian Tertiary Education Development Programme (SANTED) is a joint effort of the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD), the Department of Education and several South African Higher Education Institutions such as Rhodes University. The purpose of the programme is to assist the Department of Education in the transformation of the Higher Education sector.
Notes to Editors
1. In 1999, the Norwegian Embassy indicated that it was prepared to fund a development programme to support the transformation of higher education in South Africa. At the time, some of our historically disadvantaged tertiary education institutions were in danger of being closed down due to a combination of poor administration and financial performance, inadequate human resources management, and persistent political instability, characterised by student protests and unrest. The initial task was to identify a number of limited, but strategically important areas where it would be possible to assist the South African authorities to reach their goals.
2. The SANTED Programme was launched in November 2000 as a five-year programme with a tentative budget of NOK 54 million distributed between access and retention projects at two universities, capacity building in the areas of finance, administration and human resources management for two others, and four SADC co-operation projects. These interventions made a significant contribution to turning around institutions that were facing certain decline.
3. At the end of the five-year programme, and after a highly complimentary review by an international team in 2005, the Norwegian Embassy gave a commitment to extend the programme into a second phase, running to the end of 2009.
4. The current SANTED Programme has projects at fifteen universities (with the minor involvement of another two), including five in neighbouring SADC countries. It has a budget of approximately NOK66 million (R66 million), and in its national projects, continues to focus on the retention and success of students as a critical national priority.
5. As a component of this focus area, the DoE decided to fund a small number of new projects in the field of Multilingualism and Rhodes successfully bid for a SANTED-funded project in this area in 2006. This project is the focus of attention today,
6. Rhodes is the recipient of another SANTED project grant that falls within the category of its regional projects. In its regional projects, SANTED's objective is to create strong collaborative links between universities in South Africa and universities in neighbouring SADC countries. One of these projects involves a four-way collaboration between the Universities of the Western Cape, Namibia, Malawi and Zambia in the area of HIV and AIDS peer education among students. Most of the other projects focus on building academic capacity at a number of levels, in the areas of Engineering, Biological Sciences, Economics and Nurse Leadership.
Rhodes brings a new disciplinary field into this stable in its collaborative project with the University of Namibia in the field of Computer Science. Led by Prof Alfredo Terzoli, this project has set up a computer-based "virtual classroom" in Windhoek through which senior Computer Science students in Namibia are taught directly by Computer Science academics here at Rhodes. On successful completion of their courses, these students will be eligible to enter into a Master's programme at Rhodes.
7. In many respects this SADC project combines the best elements of the regional projects. It is based on a formalised relationship between the two universities manifest in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, it involves collaborative teaching and it has significantly enhanced the academic capacity of the Computer Science Department in Namibia and will bring direct benefits to Rhodes University in the form of postgraduate students.
8. If there is one lesson to be learnt from this kind of project work it is that while money may be used to purchase necessary equipment and resources, if it is not used at the same time to build human capacity, it is largely wasted. It takes almost no time at all to purchase a computer, but building the expertise to understand the operations of that computer is a different matter altogether. We have a duty not only to build expertise for the region, but also to use existing expertise as effectively as possible. So, perhaps the aspect of this project that is most remarkable is that it extends the reach of the expertise at Rhodes through a highly innovative use of advanced technology, the very technology that the students in Namibia are studying.
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Issued by: Ministry of Education
20 August 2008