Posted on August 01, 2018
Prof Nthabiseng Audrey Ogude, Dean of the University of Pretoria’s, Mamelodi Campus, was recently appointed Vice-President of the Pan African University Council (PAU).
The PAU was established by the African Union Council (AUC) as an intra-African human resource development initiative to focus on mainstreaming Science, Technology and Innovation in the African higher education sector. The intention of this is to ensure a sustained socio-economic development of the continent.
Prof Ogude’s appointment was officially made known at the assembly of the AUC, in Mauritania recently. In the congratulatory letter, the AUC stated, that they always encouraged “qualified women to stand at the forefront of its strategic agenda”, and Prof Ogude’s appointment reflected this as “proof of gender mainstreaming within the AUC”.
She has served on the Councils of the University of Botswana and National University of Lesotho and has acquired a wealth of experience in higher education, with more than 15 years’ experience in university management and leadership, including research management.
She will need to draw on this experience to fulfil her new role, which entails her driving the strategies of the PAU, which was established by the African Heads of State and Government in 2010 in Addis Ababa, as a continental flagship initiative. The PAU has priority research activities in areas including governance, regional integration, minimising language barriers through capacity building in interpretation and translation, water, energy, climate change, science technology and innovation, health, agriculture, earth sciences and space science.
In central Africa, it has already established the Pan African University of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences in Cameroon; and a Pan African University of Water and Energy Sciences (including climate change) at the University of Tlemcen, Algeria, in northern Africa.
In west Africa it has established the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences including Agriculture at the University of Ibadan, in Nigeria. In southern Africa, the Pan African University of Space Sciences at Cape Peninsular University of Technology is in the process of being established and will collaborate with Stellenbosch University, UP, Durban University of Technology, University of Fort Hare, University of Cape, North West University and University of KwaZulu-Natal.
In east Africa the Pan African University of Science Technology and Innovation focuses on Basic Science, Technology and Innovation and is operational at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture JKUAT, Kenya.
Prof Ogude explained that some of these strategies would be to “strengthen African higher education and research, with respect to enhancing quality, south-south collaboration and knowledge generation to solve African problems”. Another strategy is to contribute towards the production of more high quality researchers through postgraduate programmes and empowerment through command of the AU languages, she explained.
Prof Ogude believes that since South Africa and the rest of the continent are interconnected since the days of the struggle, “Pan African ideals are only achievable through knowledge production and more so by sharing and pulling together our scarce resources. I believe that it is education and not political rhetoric that will bring Africa’s economic emancipation”. She strongly believes that this cannot be achieved, “in our little corners as nations, important as these may be, they are just nodal points for diverse ideas". Prof Ogude said that her appointment also created a pathway to share and gain knowledge from colleagues across Africa on best practice.
Her appointment also bodes well for the southern sub-region as available statistics indicate that the university student participation rate is relatively low for South Africans. She is hoping that her appointment will encourage South Africans to be more pro-active in PAU activities.
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