UKZN hosts International Colloquium on IKS and the Global Knowledge Economy
The Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS) recently hosted an international colloquium on Creating Space for Local Solutions in the Global Knowledge Economy.
Attending the event held on 25 May 2018 were international students who are part of the USA-based International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP).
The ISLP is an educator-led initiative founded over 25 years ago to give scholars from different countries the lifelong advantage of an international career perspective. This year, the international scholars came from various Higher Education Institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia and India.
Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Research, provided the visitors with a comprehensive presentation of the institutional, national and continental prospects as well as challenges within the global context, including the role of IKS as local community-based knowledge systems in meeting these issues. Ramjugernath said it was important to find ‘African perspectives and solutions so we can be role players in the fourth industrial revolution’. The DVC also shared an overview of the UKZN Strategic Plan 2017-2021.
The highlight of the colloquium was the keynote presentation on Indigenous Languages and Higher Education Transformation by Dr Langa Khumalo, Director of Language Planning at UKZN. He also shared the UKZN institutional language policy, especially the role of isiZulu as an important cultural tool of institutional teaching, research and community engagement at the Institution. ‘Language is central in organising and transmitting knowledge. It’s disempowering for most African language speakers to learn in a language that is not their mother tongue,’ he said, also outlining UKZN’s language policy and the innovations developed by the University Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO), including the ‘biggest African language corpus in the world.’
There were also presentations on African Mathematics and by IKS postgraduate students on various IKS research topics such as IKS and Climate Change Adaptation; IKS and Reproductive Healthcare; Neglected Diseases and Traditional Medicine as well as Neglected Tropical Diseases and Chemistry of Indigenous Medicinal Plants.
Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
Photograph by Albert Hirasen