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VUT and Somalian university join forces

"VUT looks forward to established partnerships. Higher education these days makes sense when we share knowledge and ideas. Let's prove to the prophets of doom that there cannot be poverty of ideas when intellectuals come together." These words were uttered by Professor Gordon Zide, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Vaal University of Technology at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between VUT and SIMAD University.

On Wednesday, 21 February, VUT and SIMAD University in Somalia joined forces for the greater benefit of their students, staff and the communities in which they serve, as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by the universities Vice-Chancellors (VC), Professor (Prof) Gordon Zide and Dahir Hassan Abdi.

In November 2017, delegates from SIMAD University visited VUT, in a sitting that was honoured by VC Prof Zide, Prof Raymond Mabuza (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences), Wiseman Jack (Director: International Relations), Prof Abdulkadir Egal (Centre of Sustainable Livelihood) and Prof Peter Dzvimbo, (Deputy Vice-Chancellor) (DVC), Academic and Research and all from VUT, welcomed the delegates from SIMAD. At the height of discussion for both universities was the development of areas of research, looking at strengths and gaps between the two universities and areas of collaboration.

VUT can equally learn from Somalia and vice-versa, "where VUT is weak SIMAD University may be strong," said Prof Zide. Jack said the two universities would look at funding possibilities and set timelines on projects to ensure that they are all implemented.

SIMAD University, situated in Mogadashu, Somalia, was established in January 2011.

This is not the first MOU VUT has signed with a university in Somalia. It also has signed an agreement with the Somali National University of Technology and will soon be receiving staff members from the Somali National University that will be engaging in research in the VUT Engineering Faculty.

Through this partnership, VUT and SIMAD express their intention to facilitate and develop a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship and to encourage the development of academic and cultural exchanges between the two institutions through mutual assistance in the areas of education and research in the years to come.

The two institutions seek to pursue staff, student exchange and collaborative partnerships in the field of governance, science, technology and research programmes as well as community development programmes. The areas for potential collaboration include, subject to mutual consent, programmes offered at either institution which both institutions deem necessary to contribute to the development of a cooperative relationship between the two institutions.

The specific activities lined up for both universities include student exchanges for research and study, exchanges of faculty staff and research scholars, visiting scholar activities, joint research activities, continuing education programmes, short-term training programmes, sharing of research and educational materials, publications and academic information, dual degrees and joint degrees programmes, fellowship programmes, postdoctoral programmes, laboratory and technical training activities, technical assistance where possible, curriculum development and enhancement, joint funding where possible.

SIMID University rector Abdi expressed his sincere gratitude to the VUT delegates. He said he felt privileged to have received such a warm welcome from VUT, and he was looking forward to the implementation of all the ideas discussed.

Later during the day, the SIMAD University delegation moved to VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park in Sebokeng, where they were welcomed by Hendrik van der Merwe: Operations Manager.

The delegation was then taken for a tour around the facility to view the 3D printing machines and the Ekasi Lab, opening broader discussions on the entrepreneurship programmes offered.