Following a two-day meeting held at the Mbombela campus on 14 September 2023, the two institutions have formalised this collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The UMP delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso, included the DVC: Postgraduate Studies, Engagement, and Planning, Prof Mbewe, DVC for Research, Innovation, and Internalisation, Dr Stroebel, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Agriculture Prof Kutu, Dean of Students Dr Mamiza, and other senior academics.
BUAN is a university providing higher education and training in agriculture, natural resources, and other allied and related subjects. The University aims to produce innovative graduates and technological solutions for sustainable development in agriculture and natural resources.
Speaking at the meeting, BUAN's Dean of the Faculty of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Professor Othusitse Madibela, explained that the university offers close to 50 programmes, including Forestry, Ecology, and Agricultural Extension, Agricultural Economics, Animal Science, Plant Science, Agronomy streams, Food Science and Technology, among others.
“Our intention is to diversify our programmes, develop postgraduate training and innovation, including smart agriculture utilising technology," he stated.
Dean of the Faculty of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, at BUAN Professor Madibela and UMP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mayekiso.
Professor Fonso Kutu, Acting Dean at the School of Environmental Sciences at UMP, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasising that it will build upon and enhance the University's achievements over the past decade. He further highlighted that the scope of the collaboration is extensive, with student exchange programmes being a key component of the agreement.
“Our students can visit BUAN and learn about agriculture in Botswana, which differs from Mpumalanga due to its tropical climate. Similarly, their students can visit UMP and gain insights into agricultural practices outside of their own environment."
BUAN is also highly regarded for its livestock animal production expertise and has a farm. Professor Kutu pointed out, “These visits will be invaluable as our students will have the opportunity to observe the operations of a university-owned farm."
Professor Kutu also noted that some of the anticipated outcomes include jointly developing programmes and collaborating on the assessment of postgraduate theses and dissertations. Future projects encompass natural sciences and nature conservation, which both universities will plan together.
In its 10-year history, the University of Mpumalanga has successfully established partnerships, collaborations, and networks with national and international tertiary institutions and research institutions through executed Memoranda of Understanding/Agreements (MoU/MoA). These MoUs/MoAs are active with universities in South Africa, Africa, America, Australia, and Europe.
Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures @ChrisplPhoto