UP and Brazilian universities renew commitment to strengthen academic and research collaborations

Posted on September 08, 2023

The University of Pretoria (UP) and the Brazilian Association of Rectors of State and Municipal Universities (ABRUEM) recently renewed a commitment to strengthen existing academic and research collaborations between UP and 47 Brazilian universities.

ABRUEM intends to permanently deepen the discussion of themes that are relevant to the higher education agenda, harmonising teaching, research, community service, innovation and international cooperation.

UP Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Themba Mosia and University delegates, which included deans of faculties and heads of departments, met with ABRUEM President and Vice-Chancellor of the State University of Alagoas Prof Odilon Máximo de Morais as well as more than 30 representatives of other Brazilian universities.

“It is very important for us to have these multilateral relationships between institutions,” Prof Mosia said. “Our partnerships should be mutually beneficial and we should enter them as equal partners. Innovation is quite big for all of us and we are looking forward to breaking barriers to promote teaching and research.”

He added that when it comes to quality education, as can be seen by global rankings such as the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings and the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, higher education institutions in Brazil can expect to acquire expertise from UP through collaboration in various fields, and vice versa.

“Times Higher Education placed UP at number 69 globally in 2023; 69 out of 1 705 universities is a significant shift considering that 115 countries were included in the ranking,” Prof Mosia said. “We are also ranked in the top 20 universities in the world for two Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], with a notable fourth place in the world for SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth. Locally, we are number one and two in various fields, and in the world, we feature quite strongly in Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3).”

Prof Mosia said that the University has a vision to be one of the leading research-intensive universities in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, and for developing people, creating knowledge, and making a difference locally and globally. He also remarked that UP valued these kinds of global collaborations, particularly because they empower universities to work together to address global challenges like global warming and achieve the SDGs.

“Universities in Brazil are committed to community engagement activities and look for partnerships that can produce social impact,” Prof De Morais. “We are here to build partnerships that should be about considering all voices, and our work and our interactions should build a better world for all.”

ABRUEM brings together 47 institutions distributed across 22 states of the federation, and seeks to permanently deepen discussions of priority themes for the higher education agenda, always aiming for harmony among teaching, research, extension, innovation, and internationalisation. ABRUEM operates at all levels of higher education in face-to-face, blended and distance education, representing 40% of enrolments throughout the country.

Situated in several state and federal councils and advisory bodies, the association places importance on the internalisation of university education, with the aim of meeting the needs of society, especially those in the most disadvantaged regions and sections of the population that most need support from the state and municipal system of higher education.

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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