Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
​Making City-Academic Partnerships Happen
Academia and eThekwini Municipal officials converged at the Durban ICC from 5-6 April 2016 to attend the 4th EThekwini-University Research Symposium (EURS).
In her opening address the Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Cllr. Nomvuzo Shabalala mentioned the importance of the strategic partnership with high education institutions.
“It is worth noting that in positioning Durban as a learning City, our political and administrative leaders have come to realise the potential value of partnering with the institutions of higher learning and can relate to similar experiences elsewhere of the economic, social and other benefits for cities that work closely with academia,” said Shabalala.
During the opening ceremony of the Symposium EThekwini Municipality City Manager, Sibusiso Sithole signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Canadian Simon Fraser University.
The MOA expresses the intention of the City and the university to work together on various projects focussing on environmental sustainability. As a pilot project, the partnership will be fixed for a year, and will involve the placing of volunteers within the City as part of the Canadian International Youth Internship Programme.
The MOA expands the City’s partnership with universities to an international level, bringing a global perspective to the interaction with tertiary institutions.
More than forty research papers, based on the theme, “Durban, a City in Transformation: Towards an Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Socio Economic Outcome”, were presented. Topics ranged from urban agriculture and food security to environmental and public health, from transforming local government through e-government, electronic and engineering solutions to enhancing capacity and skills transformation.
The symposium provided a shared platform for practitioners and research organisations to engage with evidence based research outputs that can be used to influence policy and decision making within the municipality. It also provided a networking opportunity to strengthen collaboration and harness innovations, creativity and best practices to improve the quality of life of residents in Durban.
Ms Jane McRae, who represented the Simon Fraser University, was excited at the partnership with the City.
“This partnership is an important step in developing our youth and helping them to become global citizens. This is indeed a unique partnership that brings the city and research together to make well informed decisions.”
Vice Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, said: “This is a significant engagement which gives tertiary institutions the platform to expose their post graduate students to the kind of research that both the city and academia need to succeed together. We are trying to grow a new generation of researchers and managers that will take research forward for the city, research that will forge new ground.”

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