ANNUAL CONFERENCE ONLINE
24 - 26 August 2022

PROGRAMME 2022

Session 1: Opening Plenary

08:30 – 08:45Welcome
Wiseman Jack, IEASA President 2021-2022
08:45 – 09:45Dr Frank Magwegwe, Executive: Sanlam Corporate Wellness
 Chairperson: Mbali Khumalo, Simeka Health

Session 2: Parallel Sessions

Presentation A

10:00 – 11:00Topic: Internationalisation leadership challenges during COVID-19 pandemic
 Noel Kufaine, University of Namibia
 Beata Mtyingizana, Nelson Mandela University
 Chairperson: Nonceba Mbambo-Kekane, University of Limpopo

The Covid-19 pandemic education disruption challenged leaders in different ways, including internationalisation. According to Rumbley, Altbach and Reisberg (2012), leaders in higher education must be prepared to track and understand the broadest global trends in higher education, as well as the internationalisation of higher education; at the same time, attending effectively to the unique needs and aspirations of their particular institutions, local communities, and regional or national contexts.
Today, leaders have to grapple with pressing issues of morality and social justice, which have increasingly become more urgent. In paraphrasing Muthwa, leaders now need to concern themselves with not only what universities are good at, but must also confront the difficult question of what universities are good for. I argue here that university leaders who recognise their critical role in society and do see themselves as key agents of social transformation, they should also contend with the critical role of international offices in their universities, particularly with respect to the delivery of internationalisation strategic objectives of their institutions. The delivery of internationalisation objectives of universities in South Africa varies from one institution to the other, a remnant of preservative transformation, where the legacy of past practices continues right into the present and is sustained throughout different transformation phases. In some universities, strategic institutional internationalisation initiatives are delivered as special projects of Vice Chancellors where international offices are either completely disregarded or reduced to carry out academic administration support functions only. In other institutions, Vice Chancellors lead the very agenda of internationalisation with very little to no input from the international offices and yet the implementation of internationalisation imperatives is expected to be delivered by international offices that hardly engage at strategic institutional decision-making processes.

Presentation B

10:00 – 11:00Topic: Building international collaboration that is resilient and sustainable –lessons learned from Swedish-South African collaboration (SASUF) during Covid
 Helin Bäckman Kartal, South Africa-Sweden University Forum
 Chairperson: Judy Peter, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

South Africa – Sweden University Forum (SASUF) is a transformative project uniting 38 universities from across Sweden and South Africa. Since 2018, the project has brought together leading researchers, teachers, students, university leaders and other stakeholders, in order to jointly develop solutions to the challenges posed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. The first era of SASUF collaboration resulted in a total of 70 collaborative research projects, each involving researchers from both countries. This was considered such a success that a second project phase of SASUF collaboration was funded.
Then COVID happened and much of the cooperation came to a halt. This presentation will focus on the new iteration of SASUF and what lessons have been drawn from our experiences trying to collaborate globally during a pandemic. The presentation will highlight new ways of international collaboration as well as offer some ideas on what is necessary to build resilient and sustainable international collaboration that can sustain external shocks, such as a pandemic.
The presentation will bring together South African and Swedish experts on internationalisation and focus on (among other things):

  • The development of tools and methods that enables internationalisation at home, allowing more inclusive models of international collaboration to take place with a reduced common carbon footprint, but that also can be sustained during many external disruptions (for instance Covid).
  • How do we involve students in our international collaboration? All universities agree that student engagement is vital for a fair and just higher education system. This is especially important in internationalisation activities, since internationalisation directly affects students and they are the group that that stands to benefit the most from this process. But how do we achieve this in practice?

SASUF serves as one a very concrete illustration of how South Africa is engaging and collaborating with a far located country. Furthermore, as these two countries constantly maintain as well as develop their relationship through SASUF, specifically in the fields of research, education and innovation, the results of this collaboration contribute to the development of higher education as well as internationalisation in both countries.

Presentation C

10:00 – 11:00Topic: Foregrounding a Historically Disadvantaged Institution as an International African University: A case of the University of Zululand
 Nontokozo Mashiya, University of Zululand
 Chairperson: Tasmeera Singh, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

A Policy Framework on Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa encourages Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDI) to implement the policy to their level best. According to the policy, some HDI do not have extensive international relations. This has inspired such universities to improve in the areas identified as weak. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to reflect on the journey of conceptualizing a new international office at UNIZULU. To get to the level of addressing gaps, there was a need to do self-evaluation and conceptualize the institutional international office. The self-evaluation process sought to identify gaps and how they can be addressed. The newly established international office seeks to foreground and affirm the status of UNIZULU as an International African University. The questions asked in establishing the International Office at the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) was “How can the institution enhance its international profile by remaining locally relevant while globally competitive?” In the conceptualization of the international office, strategies were put in place and the innovative ways to improve on each strategy were proposed. Prioritization of international strategies were of paramount important in positioning UNIZULU as the international African University. To achieve this goal, three objectives were formulated and these are: to identify the features of a locally relevant and globally engaged institution; to analyse the kind of partners a locally relevant and globally engaged institution needs to have; and to identify priority areas that will assist the institution achieve the goal of being a locally relevant and globally engaged university. The article discusses at length what it means to be locally relevant in the context of a rural university that was historically disadvantaged, at what it takes to be globally competitive and engaged. This informs the choice of partners the institution associates itself with, as well as the major areas which are focus areas and faculty niches that will contribute to taking the university forward. These objectives can be achieved through strengthening collaborations with international counterparts that share the same interests as UNIZULU. Most importantly, the university remains committed to serving its community and be responsive to the needs of staff, students and the community it serves. Among others, the institution has put structures in place in the international Linkages Office and has initiated strategic projects that are aligned with the strategic plan of the institution. The international office clearly pronounces the priorities of the institution in terms of internationalisation, which are believed to be the enablers that will position the institution as an international African University.

Session 3: Parallel Sessions

Presentation D

11:15 – 12:15Topic: Nurturing institutional resilience during and post Covid-19: A case of Durban University Technology (DUT) and Nelson Mandela University (NMU)
 Carol Newman, Durban University of Technology
 Lindelwa Mkhize, Durban University of Technology
 Asanda Tele, Nelson Mandela University
 Chairperson:

Presentation E

11:15 – 12:15Topic: Academic research collaboration between South Africa and the rest of the African continent: What the Scopus data tells us?
 Savo Heleta, Durban University of Technology
 Divinia Jithoo, Durban University of Technology
 Chairperson: Huba Boshoff, NUFFIC

International research collaboration contributes to the exchange of ideas across borders, development of new knowledge and innovation, and can positively impact the quality of research and education. However, due to colonial influences, historical and contemporary global inequalities and the Eurocentric hegemony in higher education and knowledge production, African institutions tend to engage and collaborate primarily with their counterparts in the global North, while side lining the collaboration with institutions and researchers on the African continent. Reasons for this can be found in the colonial roots of higher education in Africa, coloniality, post-colonial neglect of higher education by African governments, neoliberal impositions and the lack of funding for intra-Africa collaboration. In South Africa, the violent, racist and segregationist nature of apartheid further disconnected the country from the rest of the African continent up until 1994. This, combined with the lack of epistemic transformation and decolonisation in South African higher education, has negatively impacted academic relations and engagements between South Africa and the rest of the continent.

Bibliometric research of Web of Science data by Mouton and Blanckenberg (2018) shows that during the 2005-2016 period, African academics, researchers and scientists have collaborated primarily with their counterparts from outside the African continent (about 50% of co-authored papers), and with colleagues within their countries (about 40% of co-authorships). The intra-Africa research collaboration that resulted in research output and production of new knowledge has been negligible in this period. Similar comprehensive data focusing on academic research collaboration between South Africa and the rest of the African continent does not exist. In this session, we will unpack research output data from Scopus to showcase the extent of intra-Africa research collaboration by South African universities that resulted in academic publications between 2010-2020. We will analyse the Scopus data from all South African public universities, highlighting the countries and parts of the world they collaborate and produce knowledge with, as well as the parts of the world which have been neglected in the past decade. This data is key for our understanding of South African higher education’s international and intra-Africa research collaboration and which parts of the world should be prioritised by universities in the expansion of the international research collaboration footprint in the future.

References

Mouton, J. & Blanckenberg, J. (2018). African science: A bibliometric analysis. In C. Beaudry, J. Mouton & H. Prozesky (Eds.), The next generation of scientists in Africa (pp. 13-25). Cape Town: African Minds.

Presentation F

11:15 – 12:15Topic: The impact of the pandemic on Visa and Immigration matters for Internationals studying at Institutions in the Republic of South Africa.
 Fiona Erispe, Univesity of Cape Town
 Chairperson:

Keeping our international community informed on Visa, Immigration and support matters during the pandemic has been and continues to be a key component in our operations in the Strategic Support and Operation unit in the International Office at UCT.

Remaining abreast of the fluidity of the Immigration Regulation under the Disaster Management Act, 2002 and visa & immigration related matters; has been, and continues to be of utmost importance to our office. Factors, such as travel bans instituted by countries on South Africa, added another layer of complexity for internationals who wanted to pursue study in South Africa. The international community not only brings diversity and also contributes financially to the bottom-line of an institution.

In the presentation, I will share how the UCT International office has and continues to engage the International students as well as the UCT community and other stakeholders in the form of:

  1. Continuous communication to keep international students and UCT community informed of and abreast of changes in the Regulations under and after the Disaster Management Act
  2. Stayed connected:
    2.1 to the Department of Home Affairs
    2.2 Missions abroad to stay informed of Covid regulations instituted in countries that would impact operations at South African Embassies/Consular Officers abroad
  3. Facilitated 1-on-1 meetings (MS Teams or calls) with students to respond to as far as possible assure and create a space to engage and be heard
  4. Hosted webinars on student wellness; with the Department of Home Affairs on visa matters (general and focused); IAPO facilitation of general visa matters webinar
  5. Collaboration with IEASA Western Cape Community, to share best practice
  6. Pilot of pending visa applications status with the Department of Home Affairs and Missions Abroad
  7. Visa delays, impact on pre-registration

Session 4: Parallel Sessions

Poster Session I

12:30 – 13:00Topic: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on internationalisation policies, strategies, and funding flows in South Africa.
 Philiswa Mncube, Durban Univesity of Technology
 Thuto Chonco, Durban University of Technology
 Chairperson: Janet van Rhyn, USAf

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world dramatically. For higher education institutions, the changes included closure of campuses and the shift to remote operations with little-to-no preparation, leaving many universities still challenged with serious financial, operational, and infrastructural challenges. In South African higher education, COVID-19 has added to the already existing inequalities and challenges, in a sector that still lags when it comes to transformation and where apartheid-imposed inequalities in the sector are still present. Pandemic-related travel restrictions have hugely impacted the possibilities of international partnerships and engagement and have restricted staff and student mobility. Amid the pandemic, the higher education sector in South Africa began engaging with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) Policy Framework for Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa (2019). The policy framework concerns the country at large, as the adaptation of the framework at universities is pivotal for the sustainability and growth of internationalisation in the higher education sector. However, we will argue in our presentation that the policy framework, whose development began in 2013 and whose finalisation has been delayed for years, is already outdated in many respects due to the changes brought by the pandemic. For example, while the higher education sector and internationalisation activities in South Africa and globally have moved online in 2020, the policy framework only mentions online and virtual international learning and engagement in passing. We will unpack the changes that have been brought about by the pandemic at the level of institutional internationalisation policies, strategies, approaches, practices, and funding flows, as well as in higher education in general. Our study will seek to understand whether DHET’s policy framework, in its existing form, can serve as a necessary and relevant guideline for development of effective internationalisation policies or strategies at South African universities. We will critically review the policy framework and the literature on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education and internationalisation in order to be able to draw new ideas and perspectives that could add to the necessary conversation about the appropriateness and relevance of the Policy Framework for Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa for South African higher education and the world impacted by the pandemic. We will present several recommendations of ideas, concepts, models and guidelines that a policy framework for internationalisation of higher education in South Africa, relevant for the ‘new normal,’ would need to incorporate.

Poster Session II

12:30 – 13:00Topic: International Education post COVID-19: A reflection on Immigration laws and the role of digital technology in teaching, learning and communication strategies.
 Nomsa Xubane, Nelson Mandela University
 Tshepang Marumo, University of Johannesburg
 Mihlali Mfana, Nelson Mandela University
 Chairperson: Mihlali Mfana, Nelson Mandela University

The outbreak of COVID-19 brought the world onto a standstill as the virus spread. Governments across the world battled to control infections, sickness, and deaths. Consequently, various forms of lockdown measures were deployed by governments to control/curb the spread of COVID-19 and avoid overwhelming health systems. It was unprecedented. The pandemic had a negative effect on the livelihoods of people and on teaching and learning experience for students both local and international University operations were disrupted and, in some instances, brought to a halt. Both staff and students bore the brunt of both the virus and lockdown measures.
In South Africa, the impact was also felt by the international students from an educational and cultural experience perspective. For instance, international students who enrolled between the year 2020 – 2021 never got to experience this “cultural experience” as South African Higher Education institutions were forced to adapt to other study modes available for teaching and learning purposes. Online learning quickly became a norm for students. This included attending lectures online via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, pre-recorded lectures and sharing the recordings and study material via emails, learning platforms and WhatsApp. These changes did not only affect the students study modes, but they also had financial implications such as the costs of internet services data, hence higher education institutions intervened and provided internet services data amongst other interventions.
Thus, this presentation seeks to discuss and show how universities through the lenses of international education have had to devise digital technology policies and practice in order to remain competitive, enhance visibility and become more globally relevant. In this presentation, we look at the issues that Nelson Mandela University faced in attempting to implement digital technology policies through different communication strategies and learning platforms during the pandemic and unpack its response. We also look at how these changes intersected with university budgets.
In addition, the different Disaster Management Act 2005 lockdown inspired lockdown restriction levels in the country between 2020 and 2021 impacted on international students due to multiple amendments to the country’s immigration regulations. These amendments had a social and economic impact on the enrolment process of international students who study in South African higher education institutions. Furthermore, the changes compelled Nelson Mandela University to reimagine the way it communicated with the international students.
It is no doubt that the pandemic changed the lives of students in many ways, including the displacement from their homes and campuses, financial strain, loss of internships, not being able to travel abroad due to travel restrictions and the need to learn new technologies in addition to their study material.
Going forward, higher education institutions must reimagine their internationalisation approaches and especially communication and digital transformation strategies. According to Hashim, Tlemsani & Matthews, (2021) digital transformation strategies encourage the importance of supporting e-learning study modes for international students, maintaining a real varsity cultural experience, enhance brand awareness, partnerships and ensuring that despite post Covid-19 challenges, South Africa remains attractive as a study destination.

Poster Session III

12:30 – 13:00Topic: The resilience of African transnational students studying at a University in South Africa during the Covid19 pandemic using a photovoice methodology.
 Tarynne Swarts, University of the Witwatersrand
 Felix Maringe, University of the Witwatersrand
 Chairperson: Nonceba Mbambo-Kekana, University of Limpopo

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students specifically those from the continent of Africa are opting for regional destinations in lieu of main English-speaking destinations. This is due to a number of factors including, the current US immigration policies, the governance of countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and the host nation’s ability to look after their international students. Many international students were stranded in countries abroad with the closure of university residence accommodation, travel bans and lack of access to basic needs and health concerns and having experienced discrimination as foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, many had opted to return to their home countries despite financial challenges. It is predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic will be impacting push-pull factors of international student mobility. Many African international students are opting to study in regional destinations with South Africa being a popular destination due to its political stability, world-class educational institutions and accessibility to health care facilities. Despite these positives, African international students experience additional challenges related to acculturative stress when moving to South Africa. This research project will highlight the resilience of African international students to overcome these challenges. This will be highlighted using the photovoice methodology. This research project hopes to impact policy on the improvement of policy and programs for international students.

Session 5: Keynote Address

14:00 – 15:00Topic: To be confirmed
 Keynote speaker: Prof Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Associate Provost and North Star Distinguished Professor at Case Western Reserve University
 Chairperson: Wiseman Jack, IEASA President

Session 6: Panel Discussion

15:15 – 16:30Topic: To be confirmed
 Panellists:
 Huba Boshoff, Head of South Africa Office, NUFFIC
 Anja Hallacker, DAAD Information Center
 Alice King, Education Advisor and Outreach Specialist, U.S. Consulate General Cape Town
 Meekness Lunga-Ayidu, South Africa Science and Higher Education Programme Manager, British Council
 Moncef Meddeb, Attaché for Science and Technology, French Embassy
 Fenghe QIAO, First Secretary(Education), Embassy of P. R. China in the Republic of South Africa
 Chairperson: Anisa Khan, University of Johannesburg

Session 7: Parallel Sessions

Presentation G

16:45 – 17:45Topic: Reflecting and reimagining global north-global south higher education partnerships: Insights from the United States-South Africa Higher Education Network (US-SA HEN)
 Farai Kapfudzaruwa, University of Pretoria
 Kyle Farmbry, Gilford College
 Jan Crafford, University of Venda
 Sedwyn Anthony, University of Pretoria
 Chairperson: Sepo Hachigonta, National Research Foundation of South Africa

Since the early 20th century, the United States of America’s higher education model has dominated the internationalisation terrain, accounting for over 15% of international students. Whilst China and India have accounted for the largest proportion of international students in the USA, Africa has equally maintained a heavy dependency on international collaborations with the USA and the global north – affecting the continent’s research evolution and priorities. Furthermore, the funding and collaboration from the north is overly skewed in medical and natural resources fields, including biodiversity, water resources, entomology and mining. This relationship has led to inequality and unsustainable higher education partnerships between Africa and the global north.

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have opened several opportunities to reflect and reimagine higher education partnerships between Africa and the global north as universities adopted digital distance learning and as trends in student mobility started shifting. Several experts have suggested that as the pandemic’s scope and outcomes remains unclear, it is too early to predict its broader implications for higher education internationalisation . Nevertheless, there is value in learning from ongoing higher education collaboration between the USA and Africa to gain some insights on the status and possible reconfiguration of current partnerships. In that context, the proposed panel seeks to share experiences and insights from the United States-South Africa Higher Education Network (US-SA HEN) led by the University of Pretoria and Guilford College, with support from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in South Africa and the US Mission to South Africa in Pretoria. The US-SA HEN initiative, launched in 2018 seeks to build a network of US and South African universities to respond to the needs of South African higher education community, particularly facilitating the growth of a doctoral pool through transformative activities related to student support, staff development and curriculum development.

To share the experiences and lessons from the US-SA HEN, as well as explore the future of higher education partnerships between the US and South Africa, the 90-minute panel will address the following questions:

  1. What are the experiences of the US-SA HEN in relation to the promotion of equitable and sustainable higher education partnerships?
  2. What has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on collaborative activities in the US-SA HEN and how have the partners adapted to the disruptions?
  3. How can experiences from the US-SA HEN inform the reimagining of internationalisation priorities and strategies at South African universities?

Presentation H

16:45 – 17:45Topic: International higher education partnerships, Agenda 2063, and Sustainable Development Goals: internationalisation processes and initiatives
 Qhama Bona, Nelson Mandela University
 John Mashayamombe, Nelson Mandela University
 Kanego Mokgosi, Nelson Mandela University
 Nwabisa Thawani, Nelson Mandela University
 Chairperson: Samia Chasi, IEASA

Higher education institutions through international partnerships can play a significant role towards the realization of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Aspirations of the Agenda 2063 on the African continent. Higher education institutions possess a global voice that if used effectively can be an agent for social change and sustainable development. As producers and transmitters of knowledge, Higher Education Institutions through research, teaching and studying can make positive contribution towards the immediate communities and the broader society. Universities for instance must produce knowledge, information and products that are responsive to society as well as globally relevant to address the challenges and complexities bedevilling humanity and planet earth. Higher education institutions cannot individually make meaningful contributions, but through active collaboration and cooperation with different stakeholders at local and international level. The potential power that higher educational institutions possess through strategic alliances with universities, associations, networks, and alliances can drive towards collective achievement

Through internationalization, international higher education partnerships at bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral levels provide avenues between universities, industry, international organizations, and communities to advocate and promote for just and sustainable society and development. However, the global order’s foundation is built on an unequal footing informed by historical legacies of imperialism, colonialism, separate development that is driven by capitalism and geopolitics. This manifests itself through unequal distribution of resources like funding and infrastructure, opportunities, hierarchy in knowledge production and skewed student and staff exchange. The relationship between higher education institutions in the ‘global South and global North’ epitomizes the concern. It negates the cause and champion towards realization of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the African Union Aspirations. Confronted by an unequal global world increasingly faced by numerous challenges threatening the existence of humanity and the planet earth, focus on international higher education partnerships warrants examination if higher education spaces and its actors are to be effective change agents. What is the nature of international partnerships that exist between higher education institutions from the global South and the global North? Under what conditions are these partnerships structured and whose favour? Do these partnerships genuinely advance aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs?

In this proposed presentation, through the lenses of internationalization, we draw on our experiences from Nelson Mandela University on international higher education partnerships and discuss the following key aspects, collaboration and cooperation, trust and open communication, focused engagement, transformative agenda, and equitable funding frameworks. We submit that these can be at the heart of international higher education partnerships amid global complexities if universities are to make meaningful contributions towards the realization of aspirations of Agenda 2063 and SDGs.

Presentation I

16:45 – 17:45Topic: Student Panel discussion
 Chairperson: Jerome September, University of the Witwatersrand

Session 8: Keynote Address

08:30 – 09:45Topic: To be confirmed
 Keynote speaker: Mr Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General: International Cooperation and Resources, Department of Science and Innovation
 Chairperson: Lavern Samuels, IEASA Deputy President & Durban University of Technology

Session 9: Parallel Sessions

Presentation J

10:00 – 11:00Topic: The Colour of Internationalization
 Fazela Haniff, Elevate Talent
 Chairperson: Umesh Bawa, University of the Western Cape

The colour of internationalization through the lens of recent disasters like COVID and the war in Ukraine.

Looking back on how the media responded to international students of colour in Hunan, China and those trapped in Ukraine, what have we learnt?

Is internationalization valued by the richness of differences or the richness derived from their differences? However, when we take a closer look at the architecture of internationalization, we will understand, like the framework of higher education systems, that the internationalization system is no different.

With this knowledge as a backdrop, how will this influence the future of internationalization of higher education in South Africa?

Presentation K: Gold Sponsor

10:00 – 11:00SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: LanguageCert
 

Romeo Mabasa
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Mirka Tzilivakis
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Mark Hudson
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Presentation L

10:00 – 11:00Topic: Academics in Context: A Collaborative Autoethnography of Organising the First Online Southern African Student Psychology Conference
  Janice Moodley, University of South Africa
  Bianca Parry, University of South Africa
 Itumeleng Masisi, University of South Africa
 Chairperson:

The Southern African Student Psychology Conference is held biennially and provides psychology students across sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to present their research to peers and faculty members. Past conferences were hosted face-to-face by the University of South Africa, in collaboration with other partnering universities. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the accelerated adoption of online technologies for teaching and learning, and academic conferencing as well. This was a challenging, yet welcomed learning experience, for the academic organisers of the 7th Southern African Students’ Psychology Conference that was held virtually for the first time in 2021, from the 7th-9th of September. We articulate our personal experiences of hosting the student conference online within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and a tertiary institution in a state of flux. Using collaborative autoethnography (CAE), we explore three themes that evolved through email correspondence, interpersonal discussions and intrapersonal reflections during the conference organising. CAE offered useful tools from which to prioritise our experiences as academics in contexts. Isolation, the imposter syndrome and burnout, thematically unified our collective experiences of organising the conference in our various capacities, reminding us of the importance of acknowledging our experiences as academics in context. In so doing, this research study contributes to gaps in literature by prioritising the experiences of female academics in the global South, as well as, the experiences of academics within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the global South.

Session 10: Parallel Sessions

Presentation M

11:15 – 12:15Topic: A tight spot: Geo-politics, Climate Change and Covid-19
 Sarah Jane van der Westhuizen, Stellenbosch University
 Chairperson: Samia Chasi, IEASA

We are currently experiencing the 5th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa. We all hoped that the pandemic would be over by now, but the Covid-19 virus is still a global concern. We thought that lockdowns are a thing of the past, but currently lockdowns are still being implemented in China.

In addition to this, the impact of climate change have become even more pertinent. In South Africa, we have seen the impact of extreme floods in Kwazulu-Natal, which has led to widespread suffering and the destruction of infrastructure in the province. As a country, we are also struggling to come to terms with an energy transition – away from coal – that is both sustainable and just.

Geopolitically, the impact of the war in Ukraine has made things even more complex. Political alliances have made international relations difficult to manage, especially in a war that is having a global economic impact.

Is the world more complex today than it was before Covid-19? While the world has always been complex, there is no doubt that these three global experiences / challenges – geopolitics, climate change and Covid-19 – has put us as international education practitioners in a tight spot. Hence, the question of what it means to practice internationalization responsibly (and ethically) is important to ask.

In this parallel session, an effort will be made to outline the various positions one can take against the background of comprehensive internationalisation and global learning. It will be argued that the latter two approaches include normative stances that could inform our position. An effort will be made to highlight the normative stances of these two approaches and show how they can guide our actions to more responsible internationalisation.
We do not really have the option of inaction, at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, action is called forth by the current global situation we are in.

Presentation N

11:15 – 12:15Topic: Rethinking Internationalisation in South Africa: The relevance of undergraduate international students in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
 Cornelius Hagenmeier, University of the Free State
 Nico Jooste, African Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation
 Lynette Jacobs, University of the Free State
 Chairperson: Umesh Bawa, University of the Western Capea

In the past years, South Africa has transformed into a hub for postgraduate, specifically doctoral, higher education in Africa (Jooste & Hagenmeier, 2019). Meanwhile, the number of undergraduate international students has been declining, a trend which may have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the falling undergraduate international student numbers, the temporary closure of campuses and the impossibility of travel, South African higher education was able to sustain its internationalisation process. At the undergraduate level, virtual exchange and curriculum internationalisation may have contributed to sustaining the integration of international dimensions into learning and teaching.
Some South African higher education institutions are investing resources into turning the trend of declining undergraduate international student numbers around. Interventions include improving services for international students and strengthening international student recruitment. This conceptual paper investigates whether and, if so, why growing international student numbers and providing excellent services for full-degree international student numbers should remain a high priority for South African universities. First, it provides a high-level analysis of data relating to international students, which indicates the shifting trends in South Africa’s international student numbers. After that, it extrapolates the rationales for attracting international undergraduate students to South Africa’s higher education institutions. Following this, it analyses whether those rationales can also be achieved through other interventions, including virtual exchanges, regional student exchanges, exchange of undergraduate teaching staff, and digital co-curricular internationalisation activities.
The paper argues that albeit many of the rationales associated with the presence of international students on South African higher education campuses can be achieved through other internationalisation activities, the presence of international students on campuses remains an important aspect of internationalisation. It allows for universities to structure co-curricular internationalisation at home activities, such as buddy programmes and diversity functions, which presupposes international students’ presence. Besides, Southern African universities have historic catchment areas transcending international boundaries, which means that regional international students are a natural part of the South African higher education institution’s student body. Another consideration is that once universities lose undergraduate spaces allocated for international students, it may be difficult to reserve them again, given the pressure on places from SA Students.
Consequently, while it is possible to achieve many of the rationales for the presence of undergraduate students in their absence, South African universities should remain committed to welcoming international degree students and continue to improve their services for international students and strengthen co-curricular internationalisation at home programmes. While falling international student numbers do not threaten the sustainability of internationalisation at South African higher education institutions, they should remain committed to attracting them and providing excellent services.

Presentation O

11:15 – 12:15Topic: Using technology to create an enabling inclusive internationalisation agenda
 Tasmeera Singh, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
 Zinzi Nkalatishana, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
 Leonie Schoelen, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
 Chairperson: Huba Boshoff, NUFFIC

According to a UNESCO report as at the 23 March 2020, 1.7 billion students and learners around the world were unable to access schools and university (Amemado, 2020) a situation catalysed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst locally in addition to the transformation imperatives of South African higher education an exacerbated by an unequal and differentiated higher education system, the scurry to remote online teaching and learning was skewed by asymmetrical institutional contexts while some institutions were able to adapt relatively quickly to the disparities were obvious nationally. Internationalisation globally has never been more challenged, whilst in 2020 internationalisation activities at South African universities were completely halted as lockdowns and isolation became normative ways of being. Yet two and a half years later, it is through technology and technology enabled interventions that internationalisation activities were able to continue as virtual internationalisation was promulgated at universities. In this paper, the authors highlight some of the very practical ways in which ‘technology centred internationalisation’ can foster more equitable and inclusive ways to approach internationalisation. Some examples will be provided and how these approaches speak to elements of internationalisation at home and internationalisation of the curriculum. Key critical questions that will be highlighted in this discussion as follows:

  • How can technology enabled internationalisation enable a global thinking mindset?
  • How can we expand international delivery to enhance the student experience?
  • How do we move towards student collaboration across borders?
  • How do we develop remote international communities of practice?
  • How important are the issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in an internationalisation agenda?

There will be three presenters in this parallel session. Two staff are from the Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships (SIP) Office at CPUT and the third is an international post-doctoral fellow at SIP.

Lunch Break

12:15 – 14:00Lunch Break

Session 11: Parallel Sessions

Presentation P

14:00 – 15:00Topic: A More Equitable and Inclusive Post-Pandemic Landscape for International Partnerships
 Samia Chasi, IEASA
 Susan Sutton, Insitute of international Education and Indiana University
 Chairperson: Savo Heleta, Durban University of Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic reframed international partnerships in unexpected ways and may well emerge as a watershed in partnership history. Not only did it ask universities to approach such linkages afresh, it threw the unevenness of the global partnership landscape into bold relief. This session combines a critical cartography of international partnerships – and the ways their unevenness is sometimes masked – with new insights and possibilities emerging from the pandemic.

Put another way, the session adds to the growing concern for building more equitable partnerships by focusing on a little explored aspect of such linkages: maps showing partnership locations – both those produced by institutions to visualize their global reach and those created by combining these individual maps. Two speakers (one from South Africa and one from the United States) will give brief presentations and invite participants to contribute their experiences and perspectives on each of the following questions:

1) What is problematic about the partnership maps that universities often used to showcase their international reach?
Maps are never simply neutral drawings of reality. They reflect the views of their makers. They can mislead and mask. Partnership maps are generally intended to show the wide network of international connections a particular institution has. However, they say nothing about the quality of these relationships, the benefits each partner receives, or the ways in which they interact with each other. From an African perspective, maps might evoke colonial depictions of the carving up of the continent, and by consistently using a Mercator projection, they also consistently distort its size.

2) When we consider individual institutional maps in the context of a map of partnerships for a particular nation, why is the distribution so skewed – and why are we not more troubled by this?
Global partnership distribution favours certain kinds of institutions and nations. Existing partnership practices have built an uneven playing field in which some nations stand on the sidelines, and less well-known and resourced institutions – no matter their nation – have difficulty finding partners. Not only does this reproduce South-North inequities, it ignores the value that could result from a more truly global coming together of perspectives.

3) What have we learned from the pandemic about creating (and depicting) a more equitable and inclusive partnership landscape?
Under COVID-19, international partnerships provided lifelines for stranded students and stalled programmes. Partners communicated more frequently. Replacing travel with online communication dampened the impact of resource differentials between partners and widened who could participate. As a result, relationships deepened, attitudes shifted, and the necessity of involving all nations in addressing global problems became clear. Intersecting with another defining force of recent years – renewed calls for equity, inclusion and justice for the marginalised, colonised and excluded – the uneven landscape of international partnerships became more visible and more troubling. A range of institutional self-reflections and strategies for spreading partnerships more evenly across institutions, nations and regions is now emerging.

Presentation Q

14:00 – 15:00Topic: Demonstrating the changes which have been brought about by the pandemic at the level of institutional internationalisation funding flows at Nelson Mandela University
 Sharon Barnes, Nelson Mandela University
 Vuyo Qutywa, Nelson Mandela University
 Chairperson: Janet van Rhyn, USAf

Title:
The financial impact on Nelson Mandela University
Purpose:
To demonstrate the changes which have been brought about by the pandemic at the level of institutional internationalisation strategies and funding flows
Issue/problem:
Across the South African higher education sector, there has been a definite decline in student numbers as a result of the pandemic and it’s far-reaching effects. Revenue streams were impacted negatively and there is a national funding challenge.
Universities are faced with the challenge of declining government subsidy and tuition fee income, coupled with escalating costs and ever-increasing demands for holistic wraparound support to promote student access for success.
In addition, Universities are faced with the challenge of the increase in student debt as a result of concessions granted for registration during the pandemic.
This calls for bold and innovative responses that draw on the collective creativity of all stakeholders to promote long-term sustainability, resilience and agility.
Position statement
According to the research conducted Longoria, López-Forniés, Cortés Sáenz and Sierra-Pérez (2021), propose that a co-creation model be embed sustainability within universities, integrating all stakeholders through a transdisciplinary approach, seeking to address global development needs through the transition to responsible sustainability practices. The concept of co-creation can be defined as a creative process that is carried out simultaneously by two or more persons, providing a collective dimension that encourages transformations in groups and obtaining a mutually valued result to promote continuity. By changing the way people behave and by involving them in the process of embracing sustainability, the results of applying the model are more likely to be impactful.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the International Office considerably where generating revenue is concerned, so much so that it puts the office at risk from being able to sustain itself. The decline of international student enrolments has been identified as one of the critical risks that relates to the strategic objectives of the institution.
In embarking reimagining internationalisation, the International Office is developing a proposed new business model in which the funding model will be integrated and is envisaged to shift its focus to Mandela University’s institutional imperatives and its principles of financial sustainability and stewardship. This will form part of the resource mobilisation initiatives which will enable diversified income streams to increase the aggregate income. In addition, the identification of gaps in setting enrolment targets and to assess new strategies that are informed by the University’s growth trajectories will have a positive impact on the financial sustainability of the International Office. At present, the International Office is assessing measures to prevent the financial implications of bad debt incurred through assessing systems that will prevent the accumulation of the bad debt and thus manage the debt recovery system. Therefore, improving efficiencies, processes and systems that will mitigate the risk of bad debt.
Conclusion
Constructive deliberations and collaboration on reimagining sustainability across internationalisation should be a priority for all Universities to explore purposeful strategies in addressing the funding challenges.

Presentation R: Silver Sponsor

14:00 – 15:00SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT
Topic:
Importance of international student private medical cover with a council for Medical Scheme’s registered Scheme and the role of academic institution in managing compliance / verification of membership status
 Rikki Erasmus, Momentum Medical Scheme
 Josua Joubert, Compcare Medical Scheme
 Chairperson: Jacques van der Merwe, Simeka Health

Session 12: Closing Plenary

15:15 – 16:30Topic: To be confirmed
 Pannelists:
 Marcio Barbosa, FAUBAI
 Larissa Bezo, CBIE
 Esther Brimmer, NAFSA
 Mirian Carballo, CIN
 Cesareduardo Gutierrezjurado, AMPEI
 Giorgia Marinoni, IAU
 Michelle Stewart, EAIE
 Jewell Winn, Tennessee State University
 Chairperson: Orla Quinlan, IEASA Treasurer & Rhodes University