The British Council has named the Durban University of Technology (DUT) as one of the nine South African universities that was awarded a substantial funding grant under the Innovation for Africa Project, which forms part of its Going Global Partnerships programme.
The recent announcement was made at the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme’s fifth Lekgotla 2021, held at the University of Pretoria. Talks at the event pertained to entrepreneurship development at universities, specifically amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and was themed #againstallodds.
EDHE is an initiative of the South African Department of Higher Education and Training, in partnership with Universities South Africa, an organisation that represents public universities in the country.
The British Council Innovation for African Universities (IAU) Programme, with the mission to leverage Carbon Literacy for Youth Employability and Job Creation in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) comprises the Sheffield Hallam University as the lead UK partner, Durban University of Technology as the lead SSA partner, Innovate Durban as the Ecosystem player, as well as Kisii University in Kenya, and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Nigeria.
Under the leadership of the DVC (Research, Innovation and Engagement), Prof Sibusiso Moyo, the DUT IAU project team led by Prof Sunday O. Ojo, includes Prof Keolebogile Motaung, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, Prof Oludayo Olugbara, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, DrGnanamPillay, Director of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Dr Ndivhuho Tshikovhi, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr Alveen Singh, Senior Lecturer, Information Technology,Ms. Chantelle Hickley from Innovate Durban,Ms Nonhlanhla Khanyile, the DUT IAU project Marketing Contact, and Prof Ian Lazarus. The Carbon Literacy for Youth Employability and Job Creation (CL4YEJC) project seeks to use Carbon Literacy as a leverage and tool, to empower African youths to engage in Green Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GIE) ventures, towards addressing the youth unemployment grand challenge in SSA. A key element of the project is the ethnolinguistic contextualisation of the Carbon Literacy Toolkit (developed in the UK) and its material content and pedagogical nuances, into the African ethnolinguistic contexts, to involve translating these materials into various African indigenous languages, to maximise Carbon Literacy model appropriateness and accessibility. (For original article on the grant, see;https://www.dut.ac.za/dut-leads-partnership-to-leverage-carbon-literacy-for-youth-employability-and-job-creation-in-sub-saharan-africa/).
Acknowledging the prestigious grant award on behalf of DUT was Dr Lavern Samuels: Director of International Education and Partnerships Directorate. He said that winning such an award indicates DUT as a vital role player. He further said that the institution has developed a track record in internationalisation as an award-winning institution.
Dr Samuels has accumulated vast experience in internationalisation, having also served as the former President of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA), an organisation he currently serves as Vice-President and Chair of its Directors Forum. Dr Samuels is a former board member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and served on the Ethics Monitoring Advisory Committee of the internationally funded Reducing HIV in Adolescents research project called RHIVA (Reducing HIV in Adolescents). He is also a member of the Foreign Qualifications Committee of the South African Qualifications Committee (SAQA).
Speaking of the institutions’ excitement upon receiving the award, Dr Samuels also spoke about developing a sense of confidence and DUT is increasing its role as a global player.
“This will actually be used to convince funders and national agencies to recognise the university’s global standing. It has been an incredibly good year for the institution. We have won the Global Award for Innovation and Excellence in Internationalisation by the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) in February 2021. In addition, I was nominated as one of six global leaders in International Education for the PIEoneers Award by the Professionals in International Education,” he said.
He added that this was in recognition for his longstanding contribution to this sector and that was quite an honour from 300 nominations to be one of the six finalists in this award.
He conveyed that the British Grant Award will allow DUT to work with a British university very closely in actually developing projects around innovation and entrepreneurship.
For the institution, Dr Samuels has indicated that the British Council has become very important for DUT as a rule for working with the United Kingdom.
“With Brexit what has happened is that we (DUT) now are no longer able to fund our British partnerships through the European Union, Erasmus + Programme. We have been very active in the Erasmus + Programme and now that Britain is no longer part of the European Union (EU), they cannot fund our activities with them, so it was very important for us to work with a new agency that could fund our partnerships with the UK. The British Council has become a very important vehicle for that and now we are working with them and getting awards through the British Council which means that we are developing a track record of success as an institution that wins awards through the British Council,” he said.
Dr Samuels relayed that the British Council Award is closely aligned to ENVISION2030.
“One of our DNA strands is around Innovation and Entrepreneurship so this award is aligning to our new strategy and I think there’s a lot that we can achieve within ENVISION2030 with these types of awards.
Pictured: Dr Lavern Samuels
Prof Sunday O Ojo, DUT IAU Project Team Leader/Waheeda Peters