Professor Betty Mubangizi (centre) with other panel discussants.

College of Law and Management Studies Dean of Teaching and Learning Professor Betty Mubangizi recently contributed her expertise at a roundtable on sustainable development in Africa organised by the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) held at the University of Bergen in Norway.

The high level discussion attended by staff and senior students from the University was moderated by CROP’s Scientific Director Professor Alberto D Cimadamore and saw discussants, Deputy Executive Secretary of Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Professor Francisco Sozinho Matsinhe and Mubangizi who is also a member of CROP’S Scientific Committee (a think tank and support structure which advises CROP in setting a research agenda as well as knowledge generation and dissemination processes) share insights on the theme: “Sustainable Development in Africa: Issues and Challenges”.

Focusing on South Africa’s Diagnostic Report and subsequent National Development Plan – Vision 2030 (NDP) Mubangizi pointed out how the NDP is an appropriate framework within which to pursue Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

‘The NDP was also an indication of political will and support of SDG ideals from the top echelons of policy planning and implementation in the country. Key to the attainment of both Vision 2030 and the SDGs in South Africa,’ she said.

Critical to Vision 2030 and to the attainment of SDG’s, Mubangizi argued, is the goal of building a capable state. ‘One with professional public servants with, not just the right skills, but also the right values and attitudes to take cognisance of and have empathy for the needs of the poor,’ she added.

Mubangizi further pointed out the need for a curriculum that nurtures such a public servant, one that is alive to the context in which poverty reduction policies get implemented, one that is context-based and one that is informed by research based on relevant and appropriate epistemologies.

During her trip, Mubangizi decided to explore the University of Bergen’s teaching and learning support systems, part of which include Webinars, E-learning platforms and  a Tutorial Programme that is run fully in the local Norwegian language with the aim of supporting students from homes where English is not a first language.

UKZN, CODESRIA and CROP recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to guide research collaborations as well as staff and student exchange programmes.

Thandiwe Jumo