African students visit BU
Students from CIDA City Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, visited BU last week to gain a valuable insight into a UK university and to learn from different practices and technology.
Two members of the party were from South Africa, one from Uganda and another from Zimbabwe and they were accompanied by a CIDA lecturer.
CIDA student, Gertrude Kitonga said: “The visit has been extraordinary. Quite life changing and quite different from what we had been expecting. The lectures are amazing. Going into a Media class and a Tourism class is not something we do at CIDA.”
CIDA is a virtually free higher education college that offers education to young, disadvantaged Africans, funded by the CIDA Foundation through investments and commercial sponsors.
Professor Tom Watson from BU organised the visit. He said: “The four students attended lectures and seminars, made presentations and were interviewed for BU Media School’s BUstation's Lunchbox television programme. They also met the Vice Chancellor and the Dean of the Media School. They were all personable, great fun to be with and have a terrific presentation style.”
The visit will have been valuable to Gertrude in particular, who has ambitions to set up a CIDA school in her homeland of Uganda. She said: “I want to build CIDA East Africa, for students who could not go to school like me. I got into CIDA by chance and that has changed my life totally. There are millions of children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda who cannot go to university. That’s why I go to school, that’s why I wake up – to give someone else a chance.”
She continued: “Going to University meant that I had a future, I had a purpose, and I could look forward to the next day. Students who cannot go to university will stay at home and they will become nobody, but they are bright and they have potential. Education is the key to success, and if we want to change the world to become what we call a global economy and create an equilibrium then we need to start from the grass roots. The best place to start is education.”
BU and CIDA first came together through a British Council Education Partnership in April 2009. Two BU Advertising & Marketing Communication students visited CIDA in September and staff from both universities have visited each other to observe how they operate. BU staff have been helping CIDA introduce new studies in media production, marketing and tourism.
Funding ends in December this year, but it is hoped that BU and CIDA will continue to work closely together.
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