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Pursuing the French Connection

Unisa's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya (VC), led a Unisa delegation on 9 March 2020 in a meeting, held at the university, with HE Aurélien Lechevallier, Ambassador of France to South Africa, and Dr Moncef Meddeb, Science and Technology Attaché of the Embassy of France to South Africa.

David Farirai (Director: Institutional Advancement, Unisa), Member of the French delegation, HE Aurélien Lechevallier (Ambassador of France to South Africa), Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Unisa), Dr Moncef Meddeb (Science and Technology Attaché: Embassy of France to South Africa), Prof Lindiwe Zungu (Executive Dean: College of Graduate Studies, Unisa) and Dr Somadoda Fikeni (Director: Vice-Chancellor's Projects and Advisor to the Principal)

In his brief address he provided an overview of Unisa as an open, distance and e-learning (ODeL) institution in South African and international contexts. The VC further emphasised the university’s commitment to its social justice mandate for student access to higher education (HE). The need for a sustainable collaborative partnership between Unisa and the French government was also at the centre of his brief remarks.

The French ambassador gave an indication of his government’s plans for the support of postgraduate studies (through exchange programmes for both academic staff members and students, joint grant applications, etc) and the opportunities that existed for Unisa and South African students. He further highlighted the fact that, towards the end of 2020, the French government will host an exhibition in France to showcase South African higher education institutions, with a view to explore possible areas for further partnerships.

The parties also agreed to organise and host dialogues, seminars and colloquia on issues of common interest within the HE landscape. It was agreed upon that these would be pursued in a bid to further strengthen the envisaged partnerships.

The university and the French Embassy agreed on the need for further engagements to pursue and further explore the various opportunities discussed at the meeting.

* By Lusani Netshitomboni, Acting Director: Communication, Marketing and Events, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/03/11