The Central University of Technology in the Free State (CUT) says it continues to take further steps towards empowering its graduates.
CUT and University West (UW) in Sweden recently formalised their partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and declaration of intent of co-operation.
The parties intend to establish co-operation in the field of doctoral education in work-integrated learning (WIL).
“The two institutions have been working together since December 2017, and the partnership has flourished, based on commonalities identified between the two universities, as well as different niche areas of excellence, such as UW’s focus on WIL research and delivery at postgraduate level, and CUT’s focus on operationalising and managing WIL at undergraduate level,” CUT said in a statement.
WIL is UW’s overarching profile. In 2011, the Swedish Department for Higher Education granted UW accreditation to award doctoral degrees with a specialisation in WIL. The university then developed an internationally acclaimed research environment in the field of WIL, becoming the only university that offers a complete doctoral degree programme in WIL.
In his welcome address, Prof. Henk de Jager, CUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal pointed out that the two universities have much in common, and that they should work together to take WIL to the next level. “One common area that brings us together is work-integrated learning. There are several commonalities between what you are doing and what we are striving for, with a strong focus on academia-industry interface. CUT has a resolution that work-integrated learning must be a compulsory part of all our academic programmes, while UW is offering the first PhD in work-integrated learning, and I believe that, by working together, we can promote WIL and make sure that our students are relevant and equipped with the right skills set,” noted De Jager.
The two universities aim to promote wider co-operation in health sciences and the digitalisation of education areas, working together by exchanging best practices to bring about efficiency.
Prof. Martin Hellström, UW Vice-Chancellor, said students are the future, so universities must do their best to prepare them for work and handling difficult challenges in the world.
“I think WIL is a way that we can contribute to a better future and pedagogy in higher education. Our new PhD programme is an interesting step for us, and the start of a new journey. We think that, together with our staff and professors, we will develop this programme, and take it to a high level. There are many other fields we can collaborate on, and we hope to learn a lot from this university,” he added.