SADC university plans still in starting blocks

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Magreth Nunuhe

Windhoek – The proposed SADC University of Transformation could be an online institution that can be more cost-effective and allow more people in the region to enter the university, said Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Chair of the SADC Council of Ministers during a media briefing in Windhoek on Tuesday.

The ambitious plan to establish a regional university has been dragging on for two years since King Mswatti III of the Kingdom of eSwatini proposed the idea at the conclusion of the 36th SADC Summit in Mbabane in August 2016.

He called on his fellow leaders in SADC to support the ambitious initiative, which he said was mooted since the 1980s to use the technical and vocational training model of delivery.

The government of eSwatini pledged to offer scholarships to 300 students in the initial intake to be drawn from all 15 SADC member states, at the time, meaning each country would be offered 20 scholarships.

The SADC Secretariat could not say which other SADC countries have pledged to assist Swaziland for the university to become a reality.

The main focus of the establishment of such a university is to give opportunities to the youth and women in SADC member states.

The ambitious plan was to have the first intake of students before the 37th SADC Summit in Pretoria, South Africa, but that did not come to light and the SADC Secretariat could not give any viable information on the progress of the university and vaguely stated that the requirements to operationalise the SADC University were being prepared by SADC member states through SADC structures.

Mswati said they would start from humble beginnings and would not cover all academic sectors at the envisaged university, but as the years go by, they would add other curricula besides vocational training modules.

He wanted the SADC University of Transformation to initially operate from the premises of existing local universities before a completely new campus is constructed.

Among some of the modules to be taught were construction architecture, designing and making cellular phones, Hi-Fi stereo systems and television sets.

Last year, the SADC Secretariat invited individual consultants to submit their CVs and Financial Proposals for regional skills assessment needs for the proposed SADC University of Transformation.

 

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