48 students and 9 staff members benefited from HAWK-UNIVEN collaboration

Fourteen University of Venda (Univen) students and three staff members from the Department of Social Work visited HAWK University in Holziminden from 09 to19 June 2018. The visit was part of the staff-student exchange programme that is supported by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between HAWK and UNIVEN in 2014.

According to Prof Mokgale Makgopa, Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences, up to this stage, 48 students and 9 staff members benefited from this collaboration. Prof Makgopa further indicated that they visited HAWK University to meet the new Executive Dean, Dr Ulrich Hundertmark who started last year, 2017, to review the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2014 based on the scope of collaborations for the purpose of its renewal in 2019 and for 2018 HAWK-UNIVEN Collaborations.

The exchange programme took a week with various activities such as official welcome, public lectures, workshops and presentations by students to their counter parts, entertainments and excursions, presentations to classes by lecturers and visits to various institutions.

On Monday, 11 June 2018, Dr Ulrich Hundertmark, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management, Social Work and Construction welcomed Univen delegation. In his brief welcome speech, the Executive Dean gave a presentation on the status of the Faculty. The Faculty is diversified and has been structured in such a manner that it accommodates the needs of the communities of Holziminden, hence its focus is on management, construction and social work, the connecting link between HAWK and Univen. The Executive Dean also touched on the importance of research within the faculty and its positive impact to the entire faculty.

In his reply speech, Prof Makgopa appreciated the collaboration between the two universities which dates back to 2014. “Univen and HAWK are rural universities, something commonly shared by the two institutions for the welfare and benefit for both students and staff.” Prof Makgopa further indicated that these are some of the challenges that are currently faced by both South Africa and Germany on the question of immigrants, people living with disability and legislation with the two countries. He further touched on the collaborative research within the two departments. He expressed that a book will be released soon coordinated from Univen in which staff members of the two institutions contributed in the form of book chapters.

He emphasized that the exchange gave both HAWK and Univen students a life time experience of travelling outside their countries if not continents, something highly appreciated by both institutions.

“Social Work and people living with disabilities” was identified as the theme for 2018 HAWK-UNIVEN exchange. In terms of the arrangement and practices each group must make some preparations based on the theme, which ends as a comparative study of Germany and South Africa. In the presentation HAWK students focussed international comparison of Social Work as a discipline which was divided into two parts focussing on the aims of the comparison, methodology and issues that constituted the core of the comparison. UNIVEN students presented two activities namely; a drama on
the 2018 theme and a presentation titled ‘challenges faced by people living with disability’.

In their presentation, the following issues were touched: affecting people living with disabilities; challenges, South African legislation, educational aspects, cultural views and the role to be played by Social Workers. In closing, Univen students presented a brief background on how research is embedded in their teaching and learning.

Professor Makgopa and Dr Mogorosi had a strategic and plenary meeting with the Executive Dean. The meeting discussed high level matters pertaining to the collaborations.

Dr Mogorosi gave a talk to the university in the form of a public lecture. The topic of his presentation was Social Work at the Workplace where he was addressing the problem of Employee Substance Abuse. The public lecture was well received by the audience made up of students and staff.

Two UNIVEN staff members delivered lectures to the German students’ class. Mr Baloyi delivered a lecture under the topic ‘Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes: Social work services’. The presentation was delivered to the second semester students that are being lectured by Prof. Roland Bader. Ms MM Mamaleka presented on ‘Field Work Practice Supervision with Social Work Students’.

UNIVEN students had an opportunity to visit the following German institutions for people living with disability as part of the experiential learning in Germany:
– Unterm Regenbogen: a private school with the focus on mental development.
– Oase Holzminden: a day-care center for people with psychological disabilities.
– Lebenshilfe Beverungen: an institution for mentally disabled adults.
– Ludwig-Schloemann Haus: an institution for mentally and physically disabled people and for people with multiple disabilities.

After such a visit, students are given tasks that end up serving in their workshops.

Based on the data collected, the following topics have been identified for publication in peer reviewed accredited journals by both students and the lecturers:
– Analytical study on the transformation of educational system of people living with disability after the apartheid era: A case study of University of Venda
– The effects of stigma on the growth and development of children with learning disabilities: Principal’s perspectives
– The impact of special schools on people living with disabilities for employment preparations: A comparative study between German and South Africa

The 2018 HAWK-UNIVEN collaboration was blessed by the opportunity of visiting the German Parliament. The group had an opportunity to meet with a member of parliament of Lower Saxony which Holziminden forms part, Mr Johannes Schraps.

Students had an opportunity of having a robust engagement and debate on issues pertaining to his job description. One Univen student asked a thought provoking question on the role to be played by Social Workers in giving support to politicians. It was an interesting experience for both HAWK and Univen students, including MP, Mr Schraps.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 09 July 2018