College of Education

Possible collaborative efforts between the Instituto Padre Antonio Vieira and Unisa

Prof Mpho Dichaba (back), Unisa ABET and Youth Development; Prof John Volmink (front left), Chairperson of the Amalusi Council; and Prof Moeketsi Letseka (front right), UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning (ODL) at Unisa exchanging books after the meeting.

On Thursday 16 January 2020, Prof Moeketsi Letseka hosted a meeting with a delegation from the Instituto Padre Antonio Vieira (IPAV) in Portugal to discuss possible collaborative efforts between the Institute and Unisa.

The Institute, whose mission is the promotion of human dignity, is a leading organisation in social innovation and a specialist in collaborative culture, promoting "unity in diversity" in Portugal and internationally. The mandate of IPAV includes the facilitation of training courses on self-directed learning and leadership among the youth and communities of Portugal, using the concept of Ubuntu, and this formed the basis of the delegation’s meeting with Prof Letseka.

Letseka, a professor of the philosophy of education, is the holder of the endowed UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning (ODL) at Unisa. In the years 2014 to 2016, he played the role of principal investigator and project leader on an NRF-funded indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) study on the Archaeology of Ubuntu. The project was a Southern African-wide study conducted in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and several provinces in South Africa.

The IPAV delegation, which comprised Dr Rui Marques (President of IPAV) and Dr Monica Rocha (Coordinator of International Relations), was led by Prof John Volmink (Chairperson of the Amalusi Council), who coordinated the delegation’s visit to South Africa. Letseka was supported by Unisa’s Prof Mpho Dichaba (ABET), Prof Gezani Baloyi (ABET) and Prof Sindile Ngubane (IODL), all of whom have served as project leaders in the Archaeology of Ubuntu project.

Prof Gezani Baloyi (left standing), Prof John Volmink (middle standing), and Prof Mpho Dichaba (right standing), Dr Rui Marques (left seated) and Prof Moeketsi Letseka (right seated).

The meeting resolved to draft a collaborative research MoU by April 2020, which will detail how the two entities will drive Ubuntu training programmes. The partnership also seeks to establish the UNESCO Joint Chair on Ubuntu, based on UNESCO’s renowned indigenous knowledge systems (IKS)’s global support programme. Professors Letseka, Dichaba and Ngubane will visit Lisbon in September to attend and participate in IPAV’s annual Ubuntu Symposium and further cement the partnership.

* By Tumelo Motaung, Secretary, UNESCO Chair on ODL

Publish date: 2020/01/21