The University of Johannesburg (UJ)'s leading role in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) conversation continues to bear fruit, with the institution now attracting more international suitors in the higher education sector willing to form strategic partnerships.
On Tuesday, 9 March 2020, a high-level delegation from Germany's higher education institutions visited UJ to explore areas to forge collaborations and exchange programmes in areas that match their strengths, notably in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Physics and Astronomy as well as Science, ICT and Health Sciences. Other areas include a range of academic disciplines and university management.
The German delegation was represented by Dr Dorothea Rüland, the Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and it was hosted by UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala.
The DAAD is the world's largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers, promoting the internationalisation activities of German universities and research organisations. It also tasked with strengthening German cultural and language studies abroad and helping developing countries establish productive higher education institutions.
Other members of the delegation were representatives from the German Embassy in South Africa and higher institutions of learning in Germany, with no less than ten universities represented. The delegation, visibly impressed with the UJ's work, showed great interest in fostering mutually rewarding partnerships on 4IR projects.
"This visit was important for us, as DAAD recognises UJ to be an international partner of strategic importance", said Prof Ylva Rodny-Gumede, UJ's Head of the Division for Internationalisation. "I hope our cooperation will grow and deepen, and that with every meeting we will take a step further."
"At UJ, we believe it is imperative to prepare students to meet challenges of a globalised economy and leverage the benefits that come with it. One of the key takeaways of the visit is the expression of interest on both sides to take calibrated measures to build the relationship and explore innovative and novel ways to work together, particularly in light of 4IR."
The German delegates acquired a better understanding of the South African higher education sector, including issues of administration, funding, staff and quality management, and student admission as well as strategic partnerships in research and teaching, internationalization. The delegates took part in lively discussions around shared topics such as appointment processes, careers in research, career prospects for graduates, equality and rankings.
Thus far, South Africa is the only African country to have hosted the delegation from Germany, having hosted once before in 2009.