A team of professors from the University of Botswana has expressed the need to strengthen and foster academic collaboration with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU) to meet the 2063 African Union Development Agenda.
Agenda 2063 is Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development over a 50-year period.
When ignited between Zion University and the University of Botswana, the collaboration will serve as the foundation for faculty and student exchanges; research supervision and enhancement of programs; joint project execution; curriculum development; cross-credit course offerings; faculty and staff capacity development programs; and among others.
Some members of the team, who spoke on August 23, at the Zion University Campus in Vincent Town, Po-River, Bomi County, said Africa's development needs will only be fulfilled by Africans. Therefore, one way to enhance that development is to invest in capacity building and research in higher learning institutions.
During the discussion, the University of Botswana team highlighted student exchange, faculty development and the criminal justice program at Zion University as their priority interests in the partnership.
Prof. David Norris, Vice Chancellor, University of Botswana, expressed delight and thanked AME Zion University for honoring their request, assuring them that the collaboration will greatly assist them in molding the minds of Africans.
Norris, who heads the delegation, believes that capacity building is very important for the two institutions, which he said are strong in it and they hope to work with the AME Zion administration.
“We are here to seek collaboration. We are cognizant of the fact that the Africa we want and the aim of the African Union 2063 is largely based on Africans to achieve that vision, and this is why we are here fostering relationships with sister organizations in Africa,” he said.
According to him, his university has 18,000 students but wants to grow the student population through virtual learning. He added that the University has 3,000 instructors, including support staff.
He further disclosed that the University offers undergraduate and postgraduate studies for interested individuals.
Norris indicated that the University, which was established in 1982 as the first institution of higher education in his country, offers degrees in almost all academic disciplines that one can think of.
“We have the faculties of Business, Education, Engineering, Humanities, Medicine, Science and Social Sciences,” he disclosed.
Norris stated that through a collaboration of academic activities, it is possible for the African Union to achieve its 2063 goal.
The Botswana University Vice Chancellor said that there are a number of areas he believes his institution can work with the AME Zion University, in programs such as Criminal Justice, with emphasis on Prison Management, Juvenile and Police Administration, among others.
He also told the AMEZU staff that the University of Botswana has a full-time scholarship for postgraduate studies and an environment to capacitate individuals at their institution.
Also speaking, Dr. Benjamin D. Lartey, President of Zion University, thanked the University of Botswana team for the visit and stated that he looked forward to the collaboration.
“I am not going to ask why you are here,” Dr. Lartey said. “But looking at our educational system, I think your visit will be very welcome by all the institutions you will meet. We at AME Zion University look forward to working with you.”
Lartey further noted that, as an institution with a strong focus on criminal justice, he believes that the collaboration with the University of Botswana is a good gesture and hopes that the discussion will be concretized.