MIT J-WEL Welcomes the Central University of Technology, Free State as Newest Higher Education Collaborative Member | MIT J-WEL

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MIT J-WEL Welcomes the Central University of Technology, Free State as Newest Higher Education Collaborative Member

South Africa’s Central University of Technology, Free State to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship education in South African higher education through collaboration with J-WEL

CUT logoCAMBRIDGE, MA, January 6, 2021 — South Africa’s Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) joins the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) as the newest member of its Higher Education Collaborative and the first university in Southern Africa to join J-WEL. 

A public technological university with over 21,000 students, CUT has campuses in both Bloemfontein and Welkom, South Africa. Through collaboration with J-WEL, CUT will work on deepening “Problem-Solving Approaches to Education” in its curriculum, providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle "hard problems" in both their local communities and globally upon graduation. CUT will also focus on enhancing its innovative and entrepreneurial capacities, supporting its Vision 2030 to shape the future through innovation as a leading African University of Technology.

Julia Reynolds-Cuéllar, Associate Director for J-WEL Higher Education, expressed her enthusiasm about the engagement:

“CUT is the first South African university to join J-WEL, and our collaboration stems from key connections built through the MIT-South Africa Program. We are delighted to welcome CUT as an important member and contributor to our community, such that we can learn from and leverage the work they are doing to reform South African higher education.” 

Alfred Ngowi, CUT’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, also commented:

“By 2030, Central University of Technology, Free State will be a leading African University of Technology, shaping the future through innovation. This is CUT’s Vision 2030, and one of the strategies of pursuing this vision is to establish robust collaboration with industry and other institutions that have a track record in innovating education and developing entrepreneurship. MIT happens to be such an institution and CUT membership to J-WEL has made it possible to share experiences with MIT and other J-WEL members in our endeavour to pursue our vision."

Through J-WEL membership, CUT joins a community of 33 other schools, universities, non-profits, government agencies, and companies addressing the world’s most pressing education challenges and exploring opportunities presented by new educational technologies, effective practices, and emerging scientific understandings of learning.

Other members of the Higher Education Collaborative include the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (Mongolia), Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia), Njala University (Sierra Leone), and Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria). 

Throughout October, CUT representatives joined 221 other practitioners and educators from around the globe to participate in the second J-WEL Connections. The event provides participants with first-hand access to MIT innovations and practices, while also serving as a platform for J-WEL and its community to connect and learn from one another. Participants were able to see and discuss how diverse institutions, including CUT, are responding to Covid-19 and other complex challenges. 

During Connections, CUT shared some of its strategies for responding to Covid-19, while Professor Percy Sepeng, Head of Institutional Renewal and Transformation at CUT, spoke on the event panel, “How to Foster a More Equitable Campus Panel,” sharing his rich experience with J-WEL members across the globe. CUT representatives will again join the J-WEL community at the next J-WEL Connections in April 2021.

An initiative of MIT and Community Jameel, J-WEL promotes excellence and transformation in education at MIT and globally by engaging educators, technologists, policymakers, societal leaders, employers, and employees. Through in-person and online collaborations, workshops, research, and information-sharing events, J-WEL member organizations—including schools, universities, NGOs, government agencies, and companies—work with MIT faculty and staff to address global opportunities for scalable change in education.

Top image: CUT logo, copyright Central University of Technology, Free State
Bottom image: The CUT campus