One of the strategic objectives of the National University of Lesotho is to strengthen internationalisation of programmes and expand partnerships and collaborations. On the 8th September, NUL Management hosted the University Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Francis William Petersen and his entourage.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the existing joint projects and identify potential areas of collaboration the two institutions can delve into.
NUL Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kananelo Mosito explained that the collaboration started as far as November when representatives of the two universities met at the University of the Free State.
Prof. Mosito indicated several areas for collaboration were identified and these were:
- a) Research: the two institutions agreed to engage in joint research projects.
- b) Students’ Mobility particularly post-graduate students through part-time supervision and joint degrees between the 2 institutions.
- c) Community Engagement.
- d) Externalisation of Examinations
- e) Staff Mobility with regard to short-term staff exchange programmes and PhD capacity developments and supervision.
NUL Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Olusola Fajana welcomed the team from the University of the Free State and extended his gratitude for meeting the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UFS. Prof. Fajana said NUL is proud to collaborate with UFS because the UFS is going to be 130 years old while the NUL is over 75 years old, this year. It is therefore important to learn from each other since they are well-established academic institutions.
“No university can afford to go solo. As institutions of higher learning, we have a responsibility of solving societal problems like unemployment, poverty, economy, death rates, violence and many others. I believe that when institutions collaborate they are able to provide solutions quicker and easier than when going solo,” Prof. Fajana emphasised.
When accepting the welcome remarks, the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis William Petersen expressed his gratitude by clearly stipulating that it was his very first time to visit the National University of Lesotho and it has been a great feeling ever since their arrival.
Prof. Peterson emphasised two key factors which he believes are important in any partnership; and these are quality and purpose. He said that it does not matter whether another partner is local or international. As long as there is a clear purpose of the partnership and all is done with highest level of quality, all will undoubtedly go well and that is an underlying basis.
“We have to ensure that the university does not only engage with herself but also with other sectors of the society… and that engagement is crucial to lift and build a region. When universities collaborate, they also co-create what is being collaborated on and learn from each other”, he added.
It was also revealed during this meeting that collaborations between the two universities have long been existing though at individual staff level mainly in research projects.