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On 7 July 2021, the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Research and Postgraduate Support Directorate (RPS) officially launched the book titled Covid-19: Interdisciplinary Exploration of Impacts on Higher Education.

The Research and Postgraduate Support Directorate (RPS) primarily focuses on managing the university’s research activities and supporting the academic and research staff through research management and development systems, organising research capacity building initiatives, providing research support and incentive structures to stimulate researchers and strategic inputs which in turn ensure the university meets the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) targets.

The book project was the first of its kind for the Directorate and the university. The launch was organised and hosted by the book publisher – African Sun Media. Premised on the disruption and lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, and in meticulous response to the impact of the pandemic on higher education – especially in South Africa – this collection of chapters spotlights the effects, consequences, and ramifications of an unprecedented pandemic in the areas of knowledge production, knowledge transfer and innovation. With the pandemic, the traditional way of teaching and learning was completely upended. It is within this context that this book presents interdisciplinary perspectives that focus on what the impact of Covid-19 implies for higher education institutions. Contributors have critically reflected from within their specific academic disciplines in their attempt to proffer solutions to the disruptions brought to the South African higher education space.

Academics and education leaders have particularly responded to the objective of this book by focusing on how the academia could tackle the Covid-19 motivated disruption and resuscitate teaching, research, and innovation activities in South African higher education, and the whole of Africa by extension.

The virtual event was attended by around 300 delegates via Zoom and Facebook Link. The lead editor of the book, Professor Tennyson Mgutshini provided some background and insights regarding the relevance of the book.

Dr Linda Zikhona Linganiso, the Director of the Research and Postgraduate Support Directorate welcomed the attendees and expressed her immense appreciation to the authors and editors for their hard work and dedication which eventually made the book a reality. She commended the editors (Tennyson Mgutshini, Dr Kunle Oparinde and Vaneshree Govender) for their steadfastness throughout the process of submissions, reviews under the publication. She lauded the editors for working on such a tangible project that is extremely relevant in the current dispensation.

Professor Tennyson Mgutshini is a Researcher in Residence at the Durban University of Technology, and the Director at the School of Transdisciplinary Research and Graduate Studies at the University of South Africa. He has extensive experience in research and development and has a history of managing no less than 42 successful research and development projects for a wide range of agencies globally.

Dr Kunle Oparinde is the Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of lnter/Multidiscplinary Studies which is indexed on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) database. Dr Oparinde has published his research works in reputable academic journals.

Ms Vaneshree Govender is the Manager (acting)- Research and Postgraduate Support Directorate at the Durban University of Technology. She is an emerging researcher and has published her research work in both local and international platforms.  

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, who was represented by Professor Keo Motaung – the Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation at the University also sent her regards.

In her remarks Professor Motaung said: “Congratulations to all the authors, as well as the editors for the role they played in the production of the book especially for promoting Research and Innovation (R&I) affairs at the university.”

She appreciated the thought that went into the chapters while reflecting on the notion that at such a time when the world was completely upended, researchers still found it worthwhile to produce a publication of such relevance.

Professor Urmilla Bob, one of the keynote speakers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, reflected on the contributions to the book by drawing on practical issues that the content of the book has addressed. Professor Bob said “Higher education institutions will benefit significantly from the knowledge published in the book both in the areas of teaching as well as research”. She also congratulated the authors and editors for a job well done.

In Dr Linganiso’s closing remarks, she challenged the authors and editors to “continue to produce research works that are relevant in addressing societal problems both locally and internationally”.

Pictured: Covid-19: Interdisciplinary Exploration of Impacts on Higher Education book cover.

Dr Kunle Oparinde, Vaneshree Govender and Dr Linda Linganiso.

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