As the Durban University of Technology (DUT) embarks on an envisioned 2030 strategic journey, a vital aspect entails improving the lives and livelihoods of the students in terms of obtaining opportunities to participate and give their input in workshops at local and international levels.
Three DUT students were recently given the opportunity to interact with international students, having participated in the second Commonwealth Futures workshop, at the OP Jindal Global University, India, in February 2020.
This event forms part of the Commonwealth Futures series organised by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the British Council, with workshops taking place in India, South Africa and the UK. The series is designed to highlight the role of young leaders in promoting social cohesion through cultures of tolerance, ethics, respect and understanding – with the outcomes directly feeding into the 2020 Commonwealth Youth Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop also provided a forum for student leaders from across the Commonwealth to explore ideas relating to ‘Gandhian principles of peace, gender and caste’.
The three DUT students, Bongeka Sithole (Higher Certificate in Operations Management), Paballo Ntobaki (PHD in Marketing) and Gomolemo Mohapi (Advanced Diploma in ICT), were excited to talk about their global experience at the workshop which explored the theme of Inspiring Global Citizens and allowed them to talk about applying Gandhian principals to today’s society.
“It was a great honour to be afforded the opportunity to go to India and represent our institution and our country on such a momentous platform. The experience was amazing with so much to learn and so much to share with other students from different commonwealth countries,” said a delighted Ntobaki.
Adding more on the experience, Mohapi stressed that the workshop was filled with four days of immersive learning, engagement and fun.
“We had experts from all walks of life coming in to share their experience and expertise with us and this provided us with the rare opportunity to learn from them and to start thinking about ways in which we can eradicate the various social issues that we face as a country,” she said.
For Sithole, the workshop taught her the importance of unity which is one of the principles that Ghandi was teaching. “We got a chance to discuss global challenges, so it is therefore important for us to take part in transforming our everyday lives by tackling such issues as they arise,” she said.
Mohapi further commented that it is very important for DUT students to engage in active conversations that build bridges between themselves and the outside world. “The exposure, and the experience gained will play a tremendous role in their personal and professional development. Learning from people who do not have the same experience as you will enable one to spark new and positive movements that lead to positive change within our communities. Workshops like these are there to encourage and empower students to play a pivotal role in building cohesive and peaceful societies,” he said.
Ntobaki shared her sentiments, saying that each of them took home something that they will use to effect social change back at DUT and in their communities. “The three of us are also planning a programme that we will use to share with DUT students on the feedback from the Indian workshop and to discuss ways in which we as the students (youth) can combat the pressing issues our society is facing today,” she said.
The three students also highlighted that DUT will also be the proud host of the 3rd Commonwealth Futures Workshop taking place from 11 to 14 March 2020. The workshop aims to bring together university students from such countries as Nigeria, Australia, India, South Africa, Canada and the United Kingdom.
They further added that each person will take part in a group project that the group designs and presents before the end of the four days.
Pictured: Bongeka Sithole, Paballo Ntobaki and Gomolemo Mohapi, at the conference in India.