A first for internationalisation at CPUT

International Relations Officer Matome Mokoena is the first South African ever to be selected for a sought after training course on management of internationalisation.

Mokoena said he was part of the third cohort of the DAAD DIES Training Course on Management of Internationalisation, which saw only 30 applicants selected from more than one hundred applications.

The DAAD DIES Training Courses offer modular, practice-oriented training opportunities for management-level professionals from universities in developing countries.

He recently returned from Kenya where he attended the programme’s African Regional Workshop at the Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). During the workshop he learnt modules on Internationalisation, soft skills as well as competencies and key tasks of International Officers.

“I feel honoured to be the first South African ever to be selected on the programme,” he says.

Mokoena, who co-ordinates Strategic Partnerships, says CPUT is following up with the JKUAT for possible partnering as they are very strong in terms of commercialisation of agricultural products.

He said he used the skills obtained from the programme to start the Buddy System at CPUT, which seeks to create an environment that will encourage students to invite their friends and families to come to South Africa.

“My office partners with the Student Learning Department which is responsible for the First Year Experience programme. Together we identify and train potential Buddies to be involved in this project,” he says.

After training, the Buddies are paired up with new international students whom they help to fit in to the CPUT culture, find their way around Cape Town and adapt to the local conditions.

The main aim of the system is to provide social cohesion and a safe environment for incoming students.

“The Buddy system can be shared with other under-privileged institutions across the country,” adds Mokoena.

Yebo to Internationalisation

The Yebo! Programme on the development of the internationalisation of PhD Studies in South Africa is an Erasmus+ funded project focused on further developing the internationalisation of doctoral education in South African universities.

The Yebo! Project is carried out by a consortium of 15 European and South African partners and is coordinated by the University of Montpellier, France.

The institutions include: Ghent University, Technical University of Berlin, Uppsala University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Coimbra Group, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, European University Association, Central University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and the University of the Western Cape.

Representatives of the 15 partners recently met on the Bellville campus to discuss current conditions and identify objectives for each university, based on the self-assessment survey outcomes, as well as topics for conferences and training sessions.

René Pellissier, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, outlined the current status of international students in South Africa as well as the higher education targets from the National Development Plan.

“Universities need students and academics who are not exclusively from the country where the university operates in order to attract the most talented people, no matter where they come from, and to open themselves to new ideas and approaches,” said Pellissier.

She pointed out in her presentation that institutions from both continents struggled to gather information about international students’ activities, which told the group that they needed to structure their monitoring and data more efficiently.

“Also, there seemed to be differing understandings on the meaning of various constructs based on continent specific terminologies,” Pellissier pointed out.

From a South African perspective the goal would be to increase participation to produce more than 100 doctoral graduates/1 000 000 of population as per global norms to 5 000 graduates in the year 2030. “This is only possible through deploying internationalisation,” said Pellissier.

Some of the recurring obstacles facing South African higher education institutions when it comes to international mobility are funding, time/work schedules and a lack of information.

Comparisons between the academic workload of the various European countries versus South Africa resulted in a complex model that was not comparative as European academics split their time evenly between teaching and research. South African on the other hand contend with mostly teaching, some research, plenty of administration and other responsibilities such as community engagement.

The workshop set the scene for the development of capacity building and future meetings will include a workshop on developing a web-based portal and conferences on developing best practice and relevant training.

Written by Theresa Smith

CPUT signs MOU with University of Toulouse

CPUT has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of the world’s oldest universities – the University of Toulouse, France (UT).

The partnership was cemented recently when a delegation from UT, including Prof Didier Marty-Dessus, Vice-Rector for International Relations, visited the Bellville campus.

Among other things, the partnership will encourage collaboration between researchers from the two institutions as well as student exchange, mainly in the Faculty of Engineering.

“The MOU that we are signing today covers all the aspects that we certainly value in terms of where we want to move to as an institution in terms of research, in terms of teaching and learning and in terms of staff and student exchanges,” said Prof Marshall Sheldon, acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships.

Prof René Pellissier, CPUT’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, thanked the delegation and said CPUT was honoured by their visit to the institution.