By Refilwe Moleyane, Central University of Technology (CUT)

The Erasmus+ YEBO project on Internationalisation of Doctoral Education in South Africa aims to foster the internationalisation of doctoral studies in South Africa by raising awareness among students, academic and administrative staff members at higher education institutions of funding opportunities and by providing professional training and tools, sharing of good practices and networking. It will do so through a number of activities and initiatives, more specifically:

  • The creation of a PhD Portal available to university staff and students where one can find information on funding opportunities for doctoral research, events and useful material from the project’s training activities and conferences
  • Training courses geared towards the professional development of PhD Candidates and academic and administrative staff dealing with doctoral studies
  • Organisation of information sessions at major international conferences on the internationalisation of doctoral studies

The project has subscribed to an international funding tool that is tailor made for doctoral candidates and graduates giving them access to the full spectrum of international funding that aims at supporting doctoral education. The tool has a total of 5000 licences that are available and we would like to extend the access to the portal to South African Universities that are members of IEASA.

Further information about YEBO:

Lest we forget the days of face to face engagement, several IEASA members physically attended the AIEA conference “Rethinking Comprehensive internationalisation for a Global World”, February 15-19 2020, (, at which the President presented in one and facilitated two other separate sessions.

After the conference, the US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, held a conference and reception for all participants from the African continent, who were in attendance at the AIEA conference, at the U.S. State Department. The President had an impromptu discussion with Dr  Whitfield Green, Chief Director of Teaching and Learning Development, DHET, South Africa.  

A follow-on International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP), organised and funded by the US Embassy, invited a delegation of South African university administrative leaders. Among the participants were the following active IEASA members: Dr Segun Obadire, Dr Hulani Mabasa, Ms Refilwe Moleyane and Ms Orla Quinlan. The IVLP delegation met with the South African Ambassador at the SA Embassy in Washington. Copies of Study SA were shared with the Embassy staff and a wide of range of people, whom the IVLP delegation met in Washington and in Atlanta, Georgia, where they had the privilege of visiting Martin Luther King’s childhood home, Ebenezer church and visitor centre


As COVID-related lock-downs and restrictions became more widespread, the 2020 face to face conferences were cancelled one by one and the opportunities for representing and promoting IEASA moved online.

The President was active in the Network of International Education Association NIEA, attending four online meetings throughout the year. A position paper on social justice, co-authored with Dr Samia Chasi, was submitted for the Third Global Dialogue, which was due to be held on April 23rd and 24th  2020 in Bariloche, Argentina. The President was due to facilitate this Third Global Dialogue and Dr Samuels was a member of the organising committee, but this event was also postponed, due to COVID-related travel restrictions.

During the week of April 27th to 29th 2020, FAUBAI, the Brazilian Association for International Education, launched an initiative called “Tomorrow: Global perspectives for Higher Education Internationalisation”. The President and Dr Lavern Samuels represented IEASA and were among 30 international thinkers invited to predict the potential impact of COVID on international higher education (

On June 15th 2020, FAUBAI hosted a dialogue about “The role of southern institutions in the post-COVID-19 future”. Leaders from three major international education associations participated in the discussion: Hilligje Van’t Land, Secretary-General of the International Association of Universities (IAU); Adel El Zaim, President of the Association of International Education Administrators (IAEA); and Orla Quinlan, President of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) (

The President was the final editor of the NIEA statement  on the importance of international education and research, published on July 24th 2020,  which has been shared with NIEA networks globally:

Between August 13th and September 4th 2020, the 10th Latin American and Caribbean Conference for the Internationalization of Higher Education “Rewiring International Education” was organized by the Colombian Network for the Internationalization of Higher Education – Colombian Association of Universities (RCI-ASCUN). The NIEA statement, referred to above, was launched at the opening plenary and the IEASA President presented the “Call to higher education aspects”, as part of the panel of NIEA representatives


On August 26 2020, The President was invited to participate in a Round Table “Human Development after Pandemic COVID-19. The Role of Education and Science” as part of the work on BRICS Working Group “Education and Science” Recommendations for the BRICS Civil Forum. organized by the Eastern Federal University, where Dr Judy Peter was one of the presenters (

On October 1st and 2nd2020, IEASA and ANIE held a joint virtual conference entitled Innovation and Resilience in higher education, in an era of COVID 19 and beyond. The President made opening remarks on behalf of IEASA and also brought the NIEA statement to the attention of this African continental gathering.

Between October 14th and 16th 2020, the President attended the EAIE Community Exchange event and engaged with the EAIE leadership. Following the joint IEASA-ANIE Conference on October 1st and 2nd, the Chair of ANIE, Prof Goski Alabi, and the IEASA President were interviewed by Dr Laura Rumbley in the EAIE podcast series. The podcast was released on November 25th:

On October 27th 2020, the President attended an online Project Atlas meeting , with participants from 16 countries to assess IEASA’s continuing participation in this project and to report back to the IEASA Council on October 28th. The Project Atlas team were referred to the statistics section of the most recent Study SA. An overview of the impact of COVID 19 on the situation facing international students in South Africa was shared. The Council has decided to continue with IEASA’s participation in this project.

On November 3rd 2020, the President joined the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Summit entitled Leaders of Change; building a sustainable future for universities. The keynote speaker was Cheryl de la Rey, currently the Vice Chancellor at the University of Canterbury, formerly the VC at the University of Pretoria, who also delivered a keynote at the 2018 IEASA conference. Some of the sustainability questions for universities were as applicable and transferable to the sustainability of IEASA and the President followed up with participating Finance Directors to discuss their thinking with regards to investments and managing bad debt in the current climate. This was then shared and discussed by the IEASA Council.

“On November 12th 2020, the President was honoured to continue an established tradition of speaking on the topic of the internationalisation of curriculum, at Durban University of Technology. This time, the audience included international partners, involved in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) who were attending the Igniting COIL@DUT launch. The address explored the extent to which the NIEA’s statement pertaining to the “ Call to Higher education institutions”  was already being modelled by DUT. The address referred to the recently released DHET policy framework on internationalisation of higher education, which spoke to both internationalisation of the curriculum and collaborative online learning”.

On November 12th 2020, the International Association of Universities (IAU)  hosted a webinar on “The future of international collaboration and academic partnerships” co-organised with the Center for International Higher Education of Boston College. The Panelists were as follows: Kalyani Unkule, Associate Professor, JGLS and Director & Head of the Office of Alumni Relations, O.P Jindal Global University; Orla Quinlan, President, International Education Association of South Africa; Susan Buck Sutton, former President of Association of International Education Administrators; Senior Advisor for Internationalization, American Council on Education:

On December 9th 2020, the President, whose home institution Rhodes University is an IAU member, sent a congratulatory greeting to IAU In celebration of their 70th anniversary, from both Rhodes University and IEASA. The “IAU turns 70” celebratory page contains over 40 videos, a collection reflecting the diverse voices and international spirit that makes IAU so unique. The videos may be found here:

While the list above is not exhustive, it includes and concludes the main International engagements by the President on behalf of IEASA for 2020.

Orla Quinlan,

President 2019-2020

Dear Colleagues, 

As we wind down for 2020, we acknowledge a year of great challenge to many of our members who have been ill, lost employment and lost loved ones, due to the COVD pandemic. Let us also reflect how, in spite of all, we have also witnessed leadership, courage, innovation and resilience at multiple levels: personally, institutionally, nationally and in international education more broadly. All of this has also seen an increase in active member engagement in IEASA. Let us build on this momentum of 2020 and continue to share our innovation and resilience and support each other in 2021, as we reimagine international education in South Africa.  

IEASA’s organisational development for sustainability

Highlights of 2020 include our continued organisational development work, notably the development of IEASA’s first five year strategy and the comprehensive review of the Constitution. We continue to build on the initiatives of 2019, regarding the rights and responsibilities of IEASA office bearers and the development and implementation of a code of conduct and a conflict of interest policy.

IEASA Deliverables

Among the specific initiatives of 2020, IEASA reinvigorated our partnership with the African Network for Internationalization of Education (ANIE) and signed a new MOU with them,  delivered a joint webinar and a joint virtual IEASA/ANIE conference. IEASA also produced the 19th edition of the much sought after Study SA guide, incorporating a greater diversity of members voices than was previously the case. IEASA also held a series of relevant and well-attended webinars on a range of topics pertinent to professionals working in internationalisation.

Policy framework on the internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa

On November 6th 2020, the eagerly anticipated release of the Policy framework on International Higher Education was a sector-wide national highlight in internationalisation
(Click here to download).

Mr Mahlubi Mabizela, the Chief Director for University Education Policy and Support in the DHET and the President of IEASA were interviewed by the PIE news when the policy was released and the responses may be viewed in this article: (Click here to view article)    

On December 15th 2020, IEASA was delighted to partner with DHET to host the first public engagement webinar, exploring the implementation of the policy framework. In response to prior consultation with IEASA members, there was significant emphasis on explaining the types of joint degrees to be accommodated by the policy.

Mr Mahlubi Mabizela emphasised that the policy framework is intended to be an enabling document, to encourage internationalisation and implored us to think creatively and imaginatively, as we develop and align our own institutional strategies with the policy framework. He continued that we would be expected to include progress on internationalisation in annual reporting to the DHET. Mr Mabizela committed to continuing the partnership with IEASA on the implementation of the policy framework.

The IEASA and DHET webinar engagement on the policy framework for internationalisation of education was an excellent note on which to end my term as President of IEASA and has defined one programme of work for the organisation for 2021.

I thank our other partners Simeka health, Momentum and CompCare for their engagement and active support to IEASA. I thank our colleagues in the Department of Home Affairs for their collaboration and responsiveness to engaging with IEASA on matters pertaining to immigration, that affect international students.

I thank the excellent 2020 Management Council, my very supportive and readily available colleagues on the Executive committee, the engaged Directors Forum, the excellent IEASA office staff and every IEASA member for your valuable contributions throughout 2020. I thank the Network of International Education Association (NIEA) colleagues who have been wonderfully supportive during these difficult times for all international education associations. I’d like to thank Rhodes University, in particular the International Office staff, for their support and last but not least, a huge thank you to my family to whom I owe a lot of time over the next few weeks!

We are still in the grip of the COVID pandemic, and we will be celebrating the end of 2020 differently. However, I trust that you will all do your part to stay safe and to keep those who are more vulnerable around you safe. Within the reasonable constraints of wearing masks, keeping socially distanced and washing and sanitising hands, I hope you will still find a way to relax and rest and have some fun between now and the start of 2021.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season and come back refreshed for an active 2021 in IEASA, as my dear colleague President Elect, Wiseman Jack takes on IEASA’s leadership role for 2021-2022. I remain on the Council for one more year and promise to support in any way I can as we collectively continue to help IEASA flourish.

Yours sincerely,

Orla Quinlan

President 2019-2020

  • Writing:
  • Speaking engagements:
    • IEASA, webinar, What is inclusion in higher education internationalisation?, 30 July 2020
    • British Council, decolonisation talk, Exploring coloniality and decolonisation of international education, 3 August 2020
    • Namibia University of Science and Technology, Public Dialogue, International partnerships in the context of COVID-19 and beyond, 9 September 2020
    • University of Venda, Virtual Dialogue, Online learning and COVID-19: Challenges and lessons for internationalisation, 5 October 2020
    • I Can 4IR Africa Summit and Dialogue, The imperative to decolonise education as we embrace the 4IR, 13 October 2020
    • Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), webinar, Decolonising international partnerships, 27 October 2020
    • Swissnex China, webinar, Working tomorrow: Reimagining human skills in a tech-empowered future, 9 December 2020
    • Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group, workshop, Re-thinking North-South Cooperation and Knowledge Production for SDGs, 15 December 2020

By Dr Samia Chasi

IEASA and ANIE entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 4 August 2020, renewing a relationship that was first established in 2012. In a virtual ceremony attended by representatives of both organisations, the MoU was signed by Ms Orla Quinlan, President of IEASA, and Prof Charles Ochieng’ Ong’ondo, Executive Director of ANIE.

On the occasion of the signing ceremony, the importance of IEASA and ANIE joining forces to collaboratively contribute to the development of higher education and advance internationalisation on the continent was highlighted.

Ms Quinlan noted that the members of both organisations stand to learn a lot from each other. She emphasised that IEASA and ANIE are well equipped to jointly represent African voices in higher education internationalisation on the global stage. She also expressed hope that virtual and online activities, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, would facilitate increased engagements between the two organisations and their members and foster collaboration on the continent.

Prof Goski Alabi, Chairperson of the ANIE Board, highlighted that by joining forces ANIE and IEASA would be able to amplify African voices in the global educational landscape. She noted that the ANIE-IEASA partnership would be aimed at bringing about benefits for the members of both organisations, specifically regarding joint capacity building and research as well as through joint conferences and events.

Shortly after signing the MoU, which is valid for five years, IEASA and ANIE turned their good intentions into action by co-hosting a webinar entitled “The future of internationalisation post COVID-19: Opportunities for collaboration with and within Africa” on 27 August 2020. The recording of the webinar, which was featured in the in the University World News on 10 September 2020 is available at [webinar recording link]. On 1 and 2 October 2020, IEASA and ANIE jointly hosted a virtual conference themed “Innovation and resilience in higher education internationalisation in the era of COVID-19 and beyond”. More information about the programme and speakers is available at

By Dr Samia Chasi (IEASA) and Dr James Otieno Jowi (ANIE)

African voices are often absent or underrepresented in the global discourse on higher education internationalisation. Recognising this challenge, IEASA and ANIE entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in August 2020 to jointly advance higher education internationalisation in Africa and to amplify African voices in the global higher educational landscape.

During the signing ceremony, it was noted that virtual and online activities, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, would facilitate increased engagements between the two organisations, their members and networks, and on 1 and 2 October 2020, IEASA and ANIE held their first joint virtual conference themed “Innovation and Resilience in Higher Education Internationalisation in an Era of COCIV-19 & Beyond”.

The two-day virtual conference brought together 387 registered participants from 37 countries, including representatives from 18 African countries, who made up the majority of delegates. Representation of several sister organisations, including the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), European Association for International Education (EAIE), Eastern European University Association (EEUA), Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI) and the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) as well as organisations such as the International Association of Universities (IAU), Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Association of African Universities (AAU), Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA) and Universities South Africa (USAf) allowed for the deliberations to not only be focussed on and in Africa but to be shared more widely with internationalisation networks around the world.

The conference offered an opportunity to reflect on the innovative and resilient ways in which universities have responded to COVID-19, sharing perspectives on what we have experienced so far and what we might anticipate beyond the pandemic. Speakers and panellists representing universities and organisations from across the continent explored the two main topics, innovation and resilience in higher education and higher education internationalisation, at the level of individuals, programmes and initiatives, organisations and countries. They touched on a variety of university activities including teaching and learning, postgraduate training, research and entrepreneurship initiatives as well as aspects of university management, administration and partnerships.

Overall, the conference reaffirmed the foundations and principles of internationalisation that have guided the activities of IEASA and ANIE and their members, especially the critical role of university partnerships and collaborations, mutuality and exchange, even in times of adversity such as during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It called for the strengthening of these key tenets of internationalisation and increased commitment to internationalisation by all stakeholders including governments, institutions and regional organisations. To enhance these engagements, African universities were urged to develop and implement strategies for internationalisation that were realistic, aligned to their circumstances and positioned in such a way that they allow institutions to reap the best possible benefits from their internationalisation efforts.

In her keynote address, Professor Thuli Madonsela, Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Law Faculty and former Public Protector of South Africa, emphasised the role of internationalisation in promoting social justice, inclusivity and mutuality. She urged African universities to foster internationalisation driven by the African philosophy of Ubuntu and care for each other. Alluding to the proverb that “Necessity is the mother of invention”, Professor Madonsela further called on African universities to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic for positive transformations and enhancement of internationalisation.

Professor Pai Obanya of the University of Ibadan challenged African scholars to reconceptualise and redefine internationalisation with emphasis on reciprocity, mutuality and putting Africa at the centre, as the continent has in the past suffered from the imbalances of globalisation and internationalisation. His provocation resonates well with previous calls to rethink internationalisation, as driven by the IAU in 2012 or emerging from the first Global Dialogue on internationalisation hosted by IEASA in 2014, which resulted in the Nelson Mandela Global Dialogue Declaration on the Future of Internationalisation of Higher Education (2014)[1].

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, several speakers emphasised the need to strengthen research and innovation in African universities and to build relevant infrastructures and support systems, especially for international students. This could help respond to the fragility of Africa’s higher education systems, which was highlighted in this time of crisis, as pointed out by Professor Nathan Ogechi of Moi University.

One of the key game changers foregrounded by COVID-19 is the need for massive investment in and deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) as a tool to support internationalisation and research as well as other educational activities of universities. Several experiences were shared from universities across the continent where significant investment and capacity building in ICT was already taking place, especially in providing alternative and blended learning approaches. According to Professor Rodny-Gumede of the University of Johannesburg, such transformation is an important avenue for innovations and Africa’s participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The need to focus on doctoral training and post-doctoral opportunities for the development of a new critical mass of African academics and experts was also emphasised. These could be supported through the establishment of an African post-COVID fund for research and innovation, as proposed by Professor Sayed of the University of Oxford and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The financial sustainability of African universities, especially in such crisis periods, was thus considered crucial. Though still in their formative stages, the African centres of excellence were considered as having a key role to play in advancing research and capacity building in targeted areas.

In closing, the joint IEASA-ANIE virtual conference has shown that COVID-19 has presented higher education institutions in Africa and around the globe with unprecedented challenges, severely disrupting many traditional internationalisation activities. At the same time, universities have acted with great adaptability, innovation and resilience and have highlighted the important role internationalisation, collaboration and partnerships play in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

As an African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” With the conference, the longstanding partnership between IEASA and ANIE has not only reached a new milestone, it has also illustrated that the two organisations are well equipped to foster intra-African collaboration and exchange and to work towards jointly representing African voices in higher education internationalisation on the global stage.

Further coverage of the IEASA-ANIE 2020 Conference:

Maina Waruru and Wachira Kigotho. (2020, October 8). Put the ‘universe’ back in university, counter ethnicity. University World News:

Maina Waruru. (2020, October 8). Research networks challenged by COVID-19. University World News:

IAU. (2020, October 23).

The PIE News team (2020, October 28). Africa: IEASA & ANIE host virtual conference. The PIE News:

EAIE Podcast (2020, November 25 ). Goski Alabi & Orla Quinlan: Africa’s internationalisation agendas. EAIE:

[1] Available for download at

Nelson Mandela University mourns passing of Professor Lungile Pepeta

It is with great sadness and an immense sense of loss that the colleagues at Nelson Mandela University learned of the passing of the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Lungile Pepeta in August 2020. His passing is not only a great loss to the University, which is gearing up to launch its Medical School, but to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Eastern Cape and South Africa.

Professor Pepeta joined the University on 1 January 2017 as the vision was gaining momentum for establishment of Medical School that offers an alternative educational model towards meeting the country’s growing need for health professionals.

As a renowned Paediatric Cardiologist, he had extensive experience in working with key stakeholders in the health and higher education sector, provincially, nationally, continentally and beyond. More recently, he helped spearhead the University’s response to COVID-19 within the institution, in communities and society at large, working with healthcare professionals, and education, business and political leadership.

Professor Pepeta was passionate and committed to South Africa’s health sector, particularly in the Eastern Cape, where he was raised, studied and spent the bulk of his illustrious career. His commitment to public health was evident during his tenure at Dora Nginza Hospital in his capacity as Acting CEO and Acting Clinical Governance Manager.

It was this passion and commitment that made him the perfect fit for what Nelson Mandela University envisaged as a model for its Health Sciences Faculty and Medical School, which has a focus on primary healthcare that is preventative rather than curative, working to serve particularly the poor and least served parts of our country.

iKudu Erasmus+ CBHE project:

Transforming curricula through internationalisation and virtual exchanges

By: Chevon Slambee and Cornelius Hagenmeier

 iKudu Consortium delegates

For higher education institutions to stay truly relevant and impactful, they need to be able to respond to global trends and patterns of higher education and internationalisation. Digitisation is one of the critical aspects of 4IR, and is an important 21st century skill linked to employability.

The iKudu project, co-ordinated by the University of the Free state, has been awarded €999 881,00 funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) framework and will for the next three years, together with its 10 partner consortium universities, have the responsibility of developing a contextualised South African concept of Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC), which integrates COIL virtual exchanges. The concept will integrate African indigenous knowledge, draw on classroom diversity and allow South African partner universities to become the country’s leading Higher Education Institutions in IoC, curriculum transformation and virtual exchanges.

Curriculum decolonisation is understood as a central aspect of curriculum transformation.  COIL virtual exchanges will provide an alternative to physical mobility, which cannot be implemented on a broad basis in South Africa due to the country’s socio-economic realities. At the heart of the project is staff capacity development, as it will produce a group of trained teaching staff who will have access to an international and local pool of knowledge, skills and expertise in the relevant areas.

The innovative character of the project seeks to connect large numbers of students utilising digital technology, thereby allowing students to gain international exposure irrespective of socio-economic background, gender or disability status. It extends an international opportunity to all students at the university and can thus be considered a smart way to implement internationalisation at home, i.e. infusing an international dimension into the formal and informal curriculum of students whilst in their domestic learning environment. Internationalised and transformed curricula, which integrate Cooperative Online International Learning (COIL) and virtual exchange, are thus a new model for the higher education teaching and learning which allows all students to develop the  graduate attributes required for success and employability in a globalised world.

In the 2014 Erasmus Impact Study, the effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions was assessed. According to the findings, 64% of employers considered international experience important for recruitment which was a significant increase from 37% in 2006. Additionally, the study showed that 64% of employers said graduates with an international background are given greater professional responsibility. Although the study was conducted in Brussels in the European Union, the results reflect the growing view that internationalisation and digitisation is the future.


COIL, the acronym

Collaborative: student to student learning to improve teamwork and collaboration skills.

Online: learning how to work in a remote team and manage virtual tools in a professional manner.

International: cross cultural learning by bringing the world into your classroom, offering ALL students an international experience.

Learning: practicing professional skills and learning from peers around the world.


How can students benefit from COIL virtual exchanges?

  • It provides all students the possibility of an international experience.
  • It prepares students for an international mobility, both whether physical or virtual.
  • It creates awareness and knowledge about other cultures; strengthening cross cultural collaboration.
  • It strengthens the ability to work in cross-national and virtual teams.
  • It promotes experiential & collaborative student learning.
  • It improves competency in English (or other languages) in authentic communicative contexts.
  • It develops online communicative competence, and digital literacy.
  • It enhances Digitisation skills which is an important 21st Century skill.
  • It contributes to employability skills (i.e. communication, language, cultural, leadership and time management skills).
  • It affords opportunities to build diverse personal relationships.




What does COIL offer academics?

  • It assists academics in developing new partnerships.
  • It enables discussions about pedagogies and the curriculum with international peers.
  • It allows academics to internationalise their curriculum.

What does COIL offer universities?

  • It enables inclusive internationalisation.
  • It facilitates intercultural learning.
  • It contributes to the development of new collaborations and partnerships.
  • It enhances the institutional profile.

Bridging the mobility gap

At the 2019 Project Kick-off meeting held in Bloemfontein, COIL Consulting Director, Jon Rubin expressed the view that International education has long suggested that the way to expand one’s view of other cultures is to travel, usually by studying abroad, and that modality, when engaged with intensity and self-reflection, is probably still the best way for students to learn about the world. However, only a select few university students and professors have the chance to blend study and research with travel.  And this is where the true strength of COIL as an online bridge to other cultures and exposure to knowledge paradigms is illustrated. COIL is a method for re-purposing the tools and opportunities provided by online education so that they serve a new goal – that of providing meaningful international experiences for students and instructors.

For the iKudu project, 55 sustained COIL virtual exchanges are anticipated for the project over the three-year period with a student target of 2625 students from Europe and 2625 students from SA to engage in COIL virtual exchanges.


COVID-19 impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the iKudu project. It disrupted the planned activities and necessitated fundamental rethinking of many aspects of the project’s implementation. However, the pandemic has given additional urgency to achieving the core project outcome, which is a contextualised South African concept of Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC), which integrates COIL virtual exchanges. While internationalisation continues to grow in relevance in a period during which graduates need to be capacitated to navigate an unknown future environment, travel has become temporarily impossible and may be far less available in the future. Consequently, the development of internationalisation strategies which can flourish in the absence of physical travel is thus of paramount importance.

Science Oscar win for esteemed rooibos researcher

WINNER: Prof Jeanine Marnewick

Esteemed researcher, Prof Jeanine Marnewick, has won the Communication Award of the National Science and Technology Foundation-South 32 Awards, known as the Science Oscars of South Africa. The awards recognise excellence and outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology and innovation in South Africa. The event was held in an online format this year.

Marnewick, who is the Director of the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute and Research Chair: Biotechnology, was recognised for leading a team that promotes rooibos tea to be included in a personal daily regime as a health promoting option. She said she felt “humbled, honoured and proud” by this recognition. “This is an acknowledgement from the scientific community that the work we are doing is relevant and making a difference. Science does not exist in a vacuum, and our work is always done with keeping our communities and public in mind.”The awards are the largest, most comprehensive, and sought-after national awards of their kind in the country and were also the first science awards in South Africa. This year’s theme was Plant Health. This is in recognition of the 2020 International Year of Plant Health as declared by the United Nations. In her acceptance speech, Marnewick said: “As a scientist I’ve always loved communicating my research findings to others, from the Grade 3 learner to the members of the University of the Third Age, the rooibos farmer and the beverage industry members”. She thanked the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, the Marketing and Communication team, her colleagues and students and the SA Rooibos Council.

Professor Tricia Naicker, Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.

BY: Nombuso Dlamini

The youngest Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Professor Tricia Naicker, has been awarded the 2020 Raikes Medal by the South African Chemical Institute.

The medal acknowledges a member of the Institute, under the age of 40, whose original chemical research performed in South Africa shows outstanding promise, as displayed in articles they have had published in reputable journals.

Naicker is only one of three researchers – and the first woman – from UKZN to win the Raikes Medal since its inception in 1961.

‘I feel really honoured to have won in this category and am thankful to my nominator and long-time mentor Professor Gert Kruger,’ said an elated Naicker.

To add to her accolades, Naicker is also the winner of the prestigious UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s 2019 Award valued at R150 000. The award is presented annually to a pre-eminent researcher at UKZN in recognition of outstanding research achievements and the international reputation acquired.

Her most recent and remarkable milestone was reaching her 100th publication in 2020.

‘I hope my success encourages other emerging academics and students to pursue their goals in whichever subject they are passionate about,’ she said.

Naicker, part of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences since 2013, is consistently rated in the Top 10 young researchers at UKZN. She holds various other national awards from the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.

She specialises in method development within the synthesis of biologically important intermediates/drugs within the field of antibacterials.

Naicker thanked her hardworking students, dedicated mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit whilst not forgetting the support of her family.

The College of Health Sciences’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Busi Ncama congratulated Naicker on her achievement. ‘I am very proud of Professor Tricia Naicker being an academic in our College. I am not surprised that she received this award – she is an outstanding researcher, very dedicated and very humble.’

She said the University community was equally proud of Naicker and encouraged her to continue flying the UKZN flag high.