In an effort to create a pervasive research and scholarship culture, the Universities of Pretoria and Venda adopted the ‘charity begins at home’ approach and signed a memorandum of understanding on 23 August 2010.
Prof Cheryl de la Rey, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria and Prof Mbati, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, signed the historic agreement at the University of Pretoria. The two leaders acknowledged through the signing of this agreement that the formidable challenges and unprecedented opportunities of our time cannot be met or realised by one university. The collaboration is therefore meant to rally the two universities behind a single vision and collaborate in path-breaking initiatives such as joint research, teaching, staff and student exchanges, technical assistance and/or training and exchange of scholarly and pedagogical materials. Leadership and governance training has also been identified as an area that the two universities can share their expertise and improve the corporate governance of each other. This new relationship, will also amplify the role of the two universities to be the agents of development in South Africa and Africa.
The two universities have different mission statements with University of Pretoria being an urban-based research university and the University of Venda being a rural-based comprehensive university. However, the two universities already have mutual projects that make them internationally competitive and locally engaged. The two universities have been nominated to participate in the European Union funded Erasmus Mundus programme dubbed the ‘Europe & South Africa Partnership for Human Development’ (EUROSA). The programme will support the mobility of masters students, PhD students and staff to gain cutting-edge expertise at European universities. The programme will run for a period of three years. Various other top-end research projects have been jointly undertaken by the two universities and the new relationship will promote the collaboration even further.
For the University of Pretoria, the establishment of this relationship cements Prof de la Rey’s quest to form productive and sustaining relationships with other African partners. The signing of this agreement follows the relationship established between the University of Pretoria and one of Africa’s highly ranked universities, Cairo University in Egypt. Prof de la Rey and Dr. Hossam Mohamed Kamel, President of Cairo University, signed a ground-breaking agreement at the University of Pretoria on 03 July 2010 and agreed to collaborate in health, engineering, physics and political science as a starting model. The relationship is promising to be active in a lot of areas and the first group of UP delegates is earmarked to visit Cairo University in September 2010.