By Myan Subrayan | This article was originally published by the University of Pretoria and appears here in an abbreviated format.

Prof Nthabiseng Ogude, Dean of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Mamelodi Campus and board member of Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP), was appointed Vice-President of the Pan African University Council (PAU) at the recent assembly of the African Union Council (AUC) in Mauritania.

The PAU was established by AUC as an intra-African human resource development initiative to focus on mainstreaming Science, Technology and Innovation in the African higher education sector. The intention of this is to ensure a sustained socioeconomic development of the continent. In a congratulatory letter, the AUC stated that they always encourage “qualified women to stand at the forefront of its strategic agenda”, and that Prof Ogude’s appointment reflected this as “proof of gender mainstreaming within the AUC”.

Prof Ogude has served on the councils of the University of Botswana and National University of Lesotho and has acquired a wealth of experience in higher education, with more than 15 years’ experience in university management and leadership, as well as research management.

Prof Ogude explains that some of the strategies of the PAU, which was established by the African Heads of State and Government in 2010 in Addis Ababa as a continental flagship initiative, that she will need to drive include “strengthen[ing] African higher education and research, with respect to enhancing quality, south-south collaboration and knowledge generation to solve African problems”.

Another strategy is to contribute towards the production of more high quality researchers through postgraduate programmes and empowerment through command of the AU languages, she explained.

She further believes that since South Africa and the rest of the continent are interconnected since the days of the struggle, “Pan African ideals are only achievable through knowledge production and more so by sharing and pulling together our scarce resources. I believe that it is education and not political rhetoric that will bring Africa’s economic emancipation”.

Prof Ogude said that her appointment also created a pathway to share and gain knowledge from colleagues across Africa on best practice. Her appointment also bodes well for the southern sub-region as available statistics indicate that the university student participation rate is relatively low for South Africans. She is hoping that her appointment will encourage South Africans to be more proactive in PAU activities.

Above: Prof Nthabiseng Ogude