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Unisa collaborates with Spanish Embassy to promote internationalisation and the African agenda

As part of her drive to position Unisa as a university that can be counted as a contributor to solutions to the world’s problems, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, recently met with His Excellency Raimundo Robredo Rubio, Ambassador of Spain in South Africa.

The VC continues to pursue collaboration opportunities with other role-players to work together for a stronger world where humanity flourishes.

The meeting with Ambassador Robredo is one of many efforts by LenkaBula to position Unisa as a centre of societal solutions. The Embassy of Spain in South Africa has been working with Unisa and its staff on different activities, including preparing for attendance at the Mobile World Conference (MWC) Barcelona 2022 and the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC) 2022, where LenkaBula participated as a speaker.

Accompanied by senior members of her team, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, engaged in robust academic discourse in promotion of internalisation and the African Agenda with His Excellency Raimundo Robredo Rubio, Ambassador of Spain in South Africa.

The VC and Ambassador Robredo came to an agreement that Unisa was ready to formalise collaborations with Spanish higher education institutions on assignments relating to research, teaching, and learning, in particular envisaging possible programmes such as joint degrees, exchange programmes of the university communities, and joint supervision arrangements. Both leaders agreed that their institutions should work together in reviving Spanish as a subject, especially considering that it is one of the official languages used in the African Union’s communication platforms and also in support of Africans working on many diplomatic and economic activities in Spanish-speaking countries. 

Ambassador Robredo emphasised the need for harmonious coexistence and a fervent desire to understand each other as people and fraternal nations. The Ambassador further suggested that collaboration could also be enhanced in the teaching of African Studies, which will deepen the understanding and appreciation of relations among African people and enhance North-South relations.

The VC added to the discussion by highlighting the need for excavating information on which academic institutions in Spain could collaborate with Unisa in making sure that the research agenda, especially the postgraduate research activities on Marine Studies, Natural Sciences, Aviation, and Space Studies, to mention but a few, could be used as a platform to work together to produce postgraduates who will not only become assets in the economic growth and development of their countries, but also great academics and researchers at universities.

It was further agreed that Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), known in English as National University of Distance Education, a distance learning and research university which also uses hybrid learning like Unisa, should be one of the first collaborators in co-creating the best open-distance-eLearning in research, teaching and learning programmes. As international universities, the two institutions working together will benefit many people in different continents because of their accessibility to many who hunger for academic knowledge. As Unisa strengthens the delivery of its academic project, the support to give quality post-school education to mostly African students who may not have access to conventional tertiary studies will also be bolstered.

The successful implementation of what was discussed at the meeting will ensure that no one is left behind in the higher education teaching and learning space.  The highly successful meeting was also attended by Professor Mathuku Mogale, Executive Dean: Economic and Management Sciences, Professor Sibusiso Vilnkomo, Executive Dean: Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, and Yvonne Mathole, Researcher and International Relations Liaison Officer, Directorate: Special Projects, Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor. Ambassador Robredo was accompanied by Cristina Argüelles, Cultural Counsellor.  

This collaboration is one of many efforts towards the realisation of LenkaBula’s vision of positioning Unisa as an innovative leader in distance and open education and ensuring that the university does not only become a centre of excellence and provider of access to opportunities for the marginalised, but also a lever of optimum participation in the global knowledge area.

*Submitted by the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

*Additional reporting by Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/05/26