- Published on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:51
- Written by Olivia Wainwright
On Saturday March 31st UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price set out on a two-week trip to the United States.
The aim of the excursion was to meet with other university leaders, as well as UCT alumni, to secure funding.
On April 2nd and 3rd, the Vice Chancellor attended the Global Colloquium of University Presidents in New York. The event was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon and vice chancellors or presidents from 23 international universities. These included representatives from both Yale and Princeton Universities.
The event not only aimed to establish links between some of the top universities in the world, but also to discuss the problems higher education is facing globally. The main topic of discussion was the “youth bulge”, that is, the fact that nearly 44% of the world population is under the age of 25. This has created problems in unemployment, especially in those countries where there are too many graduates. The Colloquium aimed to address this problem and to begin a discussion of the responsibilities educators have in creating employable graduates.
In countries such as South Africa, where the economy is expected to grow rapidly over the next ten years, more graduates are needed. Price explained that the Colloquium began “highlighting the problems”, rather than solving them.
The Vice-Chancellor met with alumni in both the USA and Canada during his time abroad. Price explained that the aim of these meetings was to “develop an alumni culture and re-establish the connection.” Price also had meetings with some foundations in the USA that currently fund UCT, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and potential funders that including Sysco Computers.
The Vice-Chancellor explained that the trip was important as part of the overall fundraising effort, and said, “I spend 20% of my time fund-raising for UCT; this trip was about building relationships and doing the groundwork.”
UCT’s funding is important both in terms of gaining money for research and to attain bursaries for students who cannot afford UCT’s fees. Price explained that although UCT’s fees are relatively high, they are justified. However, bursaries are needed to ensure that all can have the opportunity to attend the University.
Challenges arise when trying to fundraiEcose for the University because potential donors see South Africa as a wealthy country in comparison to the rest of Africa. Price, however, argued that “the future of Africa relies on institutions such as UCT.”