University of Botswana and Central University of Technology (CUT) in South Africa continue to explore new ways of collaborating and strengthening existing ties in different areas of Teaching and Learning and Research.

Against this background, a delegation from CUT led by Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Alfred Ngowi, visited the University of Botswana on January 24, 2022 with the aim of expanding further their collaboration and engagement in research, teaching and learning. The visit also sought to cultivate sustainable stakeholders engagement particularly on envisaged regional innovation projects. Professor Ngowi was accompanied by CUT Council member, Mr Mathew Rantso while from Botswana the meeting was attended by UB Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris together with Botswana Institution for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) Chief Executive Officer, Professor Shedden Masupu as well as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Professor Edward Dintwa.

Speaking at the meeting, Professor Ngowi decried the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on traditional methods of education as well as global economies. However, he said notwithstanding the impact, there was a silver lining which both CUT and UB should take advantage of to reconfigure the education system and introduce innovations that could bring about sustainable transformation and societal impact. Professor Ngowi explained that such could be achieved through digitization of the education system. He underscored the importance of UB and CUT collaborating on research and engagement with internationally acclaimed universities to achieve academic excellence.

He added that digitization could also enhance UB and CUT’s internationalization drive in addition to fostering staff and student exchange programmes. Professor Ngowi observed that introduction of new and relevant courses could also catapult not only the students but Botswana’s economy as well.

Echoing Professor Alfred Ngowi’s sentiments, Professor Norris emphasised the need for collaboration, saying it helped to solve societal problems from a multipronged approach. He expressed his excitement that UB together with BITRI and CUT continued to break new ground in research, citing Dr Shathani Nkhwa’s 3D printing of medical devices project. CUT Council Member, Mr Rantso said he was delighted and inspired by the progress UB had achieved in terms of infrastructure development. He also spoke about the problem of student accommodation, saying it could be resolved through collaborative efforts between universities, government and private sector.

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