Sometimes my life feels a bit like ‘and now for something from our own correspondent…….’ Well here I am in Namibia, scoping out the potential for a Cardiff University: University of Namibia (UNAM) collaborative project.
After staff consultation, the idea is to develop a multi-layered educational collaboration including electronic materials and in-country teaching and learning shared experiences for staff and students. Not a big ask I hear you cry, but to be honest, I wrote the business plan and it was accepted by University Executive Board, so it serves me right. After extensive country analysis and many and various e-mail conversations with potential partners, one of the countries being considered is Namibia. A second country is Zambia, but more of that anon.
So here I am. Namibia is safe: safety for staff and students is my primary objective, let’s be clear. It is a stable democracy with infrastructure sufficient for University level collaboration. It would be a good collaborator in that it covers all the things that Cardiff University does in its three colleges and Professional Services: everyone could get involved. UNAM is ranked 2695th in the world, 31st in Africa and in the various performance indices it is, for example, well below South African, Ugandan and Ghanaian Universities. Although the population of Namibia is small (just over 2M), access to higher education is tough: only 19,000 students have graduated from UNAM since it was established in 1992. It is a young but ambitious university but could climb quickly up world rankings. Can Cardiff University help? Well let’s see how things develop as meetings progress.
What about Namibia in general? It is a country that is doing a lot in health, education and housing. However, Namibia has the second greatest HIV/AIDS problem in the world and in terms of maternal and child mortality its getting somewhere, but still has a long way to go.
Professor Judith Hall