UKZN Social Work Discipline Welcomes German Exchange Students
Twenty-two students from Fachhochschule Dortmund University in Germany recently visited UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences on an exchange programme for two weeks.
The programme is part of the Internationalisation for Building Competencies Project (IFBC) - a partnership between UKZN, Facchochschule Dortmund University, and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The three principal investigators of the four-year project are Professor Michael Boecker of Facchochschule Dortmund University, Dr Maud Mthembu of UKZN and Professor Tanusha Raniga of UJ.
Dean and Head of the School of Applied Human Sciences, Professor Matshepo Matoane said, ‘This exchange programme dovetails into increased globalisation of education and showcases the strengths of universities for knowledge exchange, skills transfer and cross-border education.’
Executive Director of UKZN’s Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo believes that programmes and partnerships of this nature contribute largely to improving the quality of education and knowledge production within UKZN. ‘Such programmes augur well for our students who get the chance to benchmark against the best practices in the world. Those students who come to us from partner universities also benefit immensely from the University given our stature as one of the top universities on the African continent which continues to produce groundbreaking research in various fields.’
German student, Mr Lorenzo Paciello said: ‘I am excited to learn more about the social work practice in South Africa. This will allow us to learn from each other and grow our skills.’
Ms Ncamisile Masikane of the KZN Department of Social Development also addressed the students about social work practice in KwaZulu-Natal and the various opportunities and challenges, while the Ma’at Institute at UKZN spoke to the social work response during humanitarian crises and pandemics.
UKZN student, Ms Kwena Tlhaku, who previously went to Germany as part of the exchange programme, also gave a personal account of her exchange experiences, saying: ‘This experience was humbling and has motivated me to work harder.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Albert Hirasen