University of Pretoria Partners with Korea University in Seoul

University of Pretoria Partners with Korea University in Seoul

The University of Pretoria has started the 2011 academic year on a high note as it persistently advances its international profile. The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, signed a path-breaking agreement with Korea University President, Prof Ki-Su Lee, on 11 January 2011 at the University of Pretoria.

This historic agreement follows on South Korea’s strong commitment to establish and intensify scholarly relations with Africa and the University of Pretoria’s drive to engage the world. South Korea’s Minister of Knowledge and Economy, Young Joon Park, (who is also an alumnus of Korea University) is particularly determined to drive the engagement of South Korean Higher Education institutions with the international community. Like the University of Pretoria, South Korea acknowledges that a ferment of ideas and innovation accompanies proliferating exchanges of academics and students globally. With this visit, Korea University thus aimed to establish enduring relationships with universities in South Africa and Botswana. It is therefore humbling to note that the University of Pretoria is one of the two universities in South Africa identified as strong potential partners by Korea University. It is the first time that Korea University has established relations with universities in Southern Africa.

The collaboration will initially focus on Social Sciences in general, Economics, Management, Environmental Programmes, Governance, Public Administration, Law and Research. Prof Lee indicated that Korea University has a very productive relationship with Samsung Corporation through their Industry University which is mainly funded by Samsung. In the future, opportunities for University of Pretoria scholars and students to benefit from this arrangement will be explored.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof de la Rey emphasized a university’s role as a paramount driver of a global system increasingly shaped by knowledge, information and ideas. She welcomed Korea University and promised that the two great universities will form and nurture a formidable partnership that will promote higher education’s international aspirations. Prof de la Rey also noted with excitement the encouraging similarities between the University of Pretoria and Korea University. Both universities are just over hundred years old; they have a similar proportion of undergraduate and postgraduate students and they have similar objectives of internationalisation. Korea University has a very colourful and prestigious international profile: it was ranked 211 in 2009 by the Times Higher Education Supplement; 40% of the courses are in English (highest percentage in South Korea); ranked number one by the Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources (2004-07) in graduate employability; member of Universitas 21 and a member of the Asia Pacific Rim Universities.

The University of Pretoria has three existing collaborative relationships in South Korea. These are with the University of Chongshin (19 January 2000), Sogang University (16 June 2009) and Kyonggi University (19 July 2010).

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