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Monday, 27 February 2017

Supporting internationalisation at universities

FUNDS: Internationalisation strategies and resources will be boosted at four South African universities FUNDS: Internationalisation strategies and resources will be boosted at four South African universities

R15 million has been earmarked to boost internationalisation strategies and resources at four historic disadvantaged institutions in South Africa.

The IMPALA project, short for the Internationalisation and Modernisation Programme for Academics, Leaders and Administrators, forms part of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Capacity Building in Higher Education programme, a European Union funded initiative.

CPUT along with the University of Forth Hare, University of Venda and the University of Limpopo have been hand-picked to benefit from the IMPALA project, which is the first initiative of its kind solely targeting international offices at South African intuitions. The European partners who will be assisting with capacity building include the University of Antwerp, University of Bologna, University of Graz, Utrecht Network and the Academic Cooperation Association.

Merle Hodges, the Director of the Office of International Affairs at CPUT, who is also the joint coordinator for IMPALA, says the project was conceptualised after the European partners visited South Africa and saw the need to support the respective international offices in driving internationalisation.

“The international offices are extremely small. There are plus minus four people per office who have to support internationalisation at these institutions,” she says.

Hodges says the project aspires to develop clear and viable internationalisation strategies within South African universities to bring them up to par and give them a much needed head start for future international cooperation initiatives.

“We also want to build a network of European and South African institutions and organisations to respond to the needs in the South African higher education community.”


Over the next two years the IMPALA project will focus on internationalisation of the curriculum, short-term programmes and summer schools, project writing and management, and development of a mobility toolkit that will help international offices manage international processes.

The first training week will commence in March with 80 staff members from participating institutions, as well as participants from non-partner universities. The training, which will be facilitated by the European and South Africa partners, with follow-up training sessions scheduled for later this year.

Hodges says training will touch on relevant matters, such as decolonization of curriculums in order to produce graduate attributes that will allow individuals to apply their knowledge globally. The summer schools are also an important means for the internationalization of education.

“Summer schools are highly in demand. When professionally organised they can be a suitable way to collect funds from external sources, in particular from tuition fees. The profit can be designated to support the organisation of international activities for the benefit of local students,” says Hodges.

Project writing is another highlight of the IMPALA project and training is targeted at developing a cohort of university staff members who can identify funding opportunities, submit successful applications, develop and implement projects utilising international and local funding.

  • CPUT currently has six Erasmus + Capacity Building projects and six Credit Mobility Projects
Written by Candes Keating

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