Millennium goals need African perspective, says VC

28 April 2010 | Story by Newsroom

VC & delegatesMaking contact: Dr Max Price (second from left) takes visiting heads of universities on a walk-about around the UCT campus.

Vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, expressed his hopes that last week's conference of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) will provide an African lens for the focus on the Millennium Development Goals.

Price was addressing the conference, which was hosted jointly in Cape Town by UCT, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape, with support from the Cape Higher Education Consortium.

The theme of this year's conference, which ran from April 25 to 27, was Universities and the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) commit the world to:

  • achieving an end to poverty and hunger

  • universal education;

  • gender equality;

  • child and maternal health;

  • combating HIV-Aids;

  • environmental sustainability;

  • global partnership

Speaking at the opening ceremony at UCT - which was attended by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande and Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor - Price said that the conference provided an opportunity for South African academics to participate in the "critical discussions around the achievement of a more just, equitable and secure society".

He hoped that by locating this year"s conference in Africa, delegates would be able to view the challenges of the MDGs through "an African lens".

In turn, Motlanthe called on developing countries to continue to work towards increasing their spending in the higher education sector. He said universities were key partners in monitoring progress towards achieving the MDGs and seeking innovative responses to the challenges identified in the process. Universities had to be active participants in developing the knowledge and values required for sustainable development.

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