“There cannot be a poverty of ideas when intellectuals come together”: Left: VUT Senior Management with the SIMAD University delegation. Right: VUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide with Mr Dahir Hassan Abdi; SIMAD University Rector (VC).
Qhawekazi Memani and Selina Rapulana
Vaal University of Technology and SIMAD University in Somalia officially joined forces on 21 February for the greater benefit of their students, staff and the communities in which they serve, when their Vice-Chancellors, Professor Gordon Zide and Mr Dahir Hassan Abdi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
Through this partnership, VUT and SIMAD expressed 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 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 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 degree programmes, fellowship programmes, postdoctoral programmes, laboratory and technical training activities, technical assistance, curriculum development and enhancement as well as joint funding where possible.
“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,” said Prof Zide.
”Where VUT is weak, SIMAD University may be strong,” he continued.
Mr Abdi expressed his sincere gratitude to the VUT delegates and said he feels privileged to have received the warm welcome VUT has given them. They are looking forward to the implementation of all the ideas.
Director of International Relations, Mr Wiseman Jack said that the two universities will look at funding possibilities and set timelines on projects in order to ensure that they are all implemented.
SIMAD University, situated in Mogadashu, Somalia, was established in 1999 as an institute of higher learning. It then became a fully-fledged institution in January 2011 because of its consistent successes and achievements.
This is not the first MOU VUT has signed with a Somalian university. It also has signed an agreement of this nature with the Somali National University of Technology and will soon be receiving staff members from the Somali National University as part of research in the VUT Engineering Faculty.
After the signing, the SIMAD University delegation moved to VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park (SGSTP) in Sebokeng, where they were welcomed by Mr 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.