The University of KwaZulu-Natal welcomed a delegation from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) during a meeting held recently at the University’s Westville campus.

HVL is one of the largest teacher training institutions in Norway with 16 000 students, five campuses and four faculties.

Leading the delegation, HVL Rector Dr Berit Rokne said the purpose of the visit was to meet their South African partners to find ways to produce quality education and to discuss the current collaborative initiatives in place between the two universities. The visit was also used to explore possibilities for further engagements between the two institutions.

Other members of the HVL delegation included Dr Gro Annita Fonnes Flaten, Pro-Rector for Research; Mr Sigurd Sandvold, Pro-Dean for the Faculty of Education; Dr Erland Eidsvik, Project Manager; Ms Elin Kvaale, Deputy Director/Division for Research Administration and International Relations; and Ms Maren Stallemo, from the HVL International Office.

UKZN Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nana Poku said the University is committed to ensuring that the partnership works and assured the delegation that UKZN will do what it takes to make that happen.

The two projects currently in place with the UKZN School of Education involve student exchange programmes, placing student teachers from Norway in primary and secondary schools around Durban and facilitating research staff mobility.

The aim of the projects will be to strengthen teacher education, produce quality teachers, increase co-operation with the local schools and contribute to the internationalisation of teacher education.

Staff mobility is planned to begin in 2019 while exchanges for masters and PhD students will begin in 2020.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Humanities, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize said the exchanges will give students from both countries an opportunity to expose their learners to their language and culture, while the Head of the School of Education, Professor Thabo Msibi said even though the project will start with Education, it is aimed to go beyond this into the College of Humanities.

UKZN/HVL Academic Liaison, Dr Sadhana Manik thanked all the members that have been involved in driving the project and creating new opportunities for a Norwegian-South African co-operation.

Both the universities agreed on taking the projects forward and putting all the necessary systems in place for the project to succeed.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu