US-based Rutgers University has partnered with Botswana leaders to develop a platform for knowledge exchange and help the African country address its strategic development goals.
The new initiative, called Botswana-Rutgers Knowledge Collaborative, will be led by Botswana president Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi and Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi, will focus on health care, IT, higher education and research, entrepreneurship and innovation, civic leadership.
“A recurring theme of the agreement is access”
“This agreement goes beyond the traditional institutional academic agreement – it is not a partnership between Rutgers and a single university or a consortium of universities, but a partnership with an entire nation,” Rutgers president Barchi said.
The aim is to help Botswana transition “from a predominantly natural resource-based economy into a knowledge-based one,” a statement on the new partnership reads.
“The goal of this initiative is to engage on priority areas that Botswana and Rutgers have jointly identified, provide training and develop curricula that will help create a knowledge-based economy in Botswana equipped with a workforce prepared to address key regional challenges, and pursue collaborative research,” the university’s vice president for global affairs Eric Garfunkel said.
A central part of the partnership will see the establishment of a knowledge hub in Botswana which will use the same technology used at Rutgers to digitally connect classrooms.
The hub will provide a platform for educational consulting and training programs and allow for regular communication between Rutgers and partners in Botswana, while also serving the needs to new businesses, government offices and educational institutions in the country, Rutgers’ senior vice president and chief information officer Michele Norin said.
“A recurring theme of the agreement is access,” he explained.
The details of the Knowledge Collaborative are still being defined, but the first partnerships have already been established.
One of these will see Rutgers Global Health Institute collaborate with the University of Botswana on healthcare programs and facilities.
“We know from our discussions that addressing health care system gaps – particularly with regard to cancer care and treatment – is a high priority for the government of Botswana,” the institute’s director Richard Marlink said.
“Plans for expanded medical speciality training, a new teaching hospital and a biomedical engineering curriculum at the University of Botswana are beginning to take shape.”