On the 6th of February 2020, members of the Belgium Campus iTversity community lined up outside NG Kerk Wonderpark to celebrate the official opening of the 2020 academic year. We were joined by representatives from the Belgian, Flemish and South African government, delegates from industry, academic and support staff as well as past and present students all eager to celebrate this important event.
Our guests were welcomed to the venue with a lively performance from the incredibly talented Mzansi Youth Choir before settling into their seats. We were delighted to be joined by Belgium Campus Chairman, Mr Jan Rombouts, who made the journey from Belgium to join the celebratory occasion and we were honoured to be joined by distinguished guest speakers: Dr Geraldine Reymenants, Representative of the Flemish Government in Southern Africa, Prof. Dr. Walter Sevenhans, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Engineering at the University of Antwerpen and Ms Pumeza Bam, Group Executive of Human Resources at Liberty.
A common focus of the night’s speeches was the importance of using knowledge and the power of IT for the benefit of society and the world at large. Dr Geraldine Reymenants focussed on the important role of IT in enabling inclusive and sustainable development. She commended Belgium Campus for having community engagement as a high priority on their agenda and encouraged Belgium Campus students to do the same. “I urge you to use the knowledge and skills you will develop to make a positive social and environmental impact.”
Ms Pumeza Bam highlighted the importance of Belgium Campus’ quest to produce industry-ready graduates with the necessary outlook and attitude to excel in the industry. “We, like many other companies, were frustrated with the limited amount of students ready to deal with the demands of the working environment. Belgium Campus students are different; they are able to provide innovative solutions to the real-world problems we present them with and they do it with a positive attitude.”
The evening provided an opportunity to reflect on past achievements, including our successful collaboration with universities from across the globe on joint industry projects in the areas of: aquaponics, hydroponics, smart farming, smart aviation, vehicle automation and autonomous underwater vehicles, as well as our continued partnership with the National Skills Fund and Industry which will see 9 of our Deaf students graduating this year.
The evening also provided an opportunity to look towards the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. These opportunities include a new collaboration with the University of Antwerpen, to build a bridging programme that will enable students from both institutions to acquire master’s degrees in Applied Engineering, and enable Belgium Campus staff and students to complete PHDs in Antwerp. Prof. Dr. Walter Sevenhans praised the standard of education offered at Belgium Campus, explaining that a joint educational assessment conducted by the universities of Antwerp and KU Leuven, found the iTversity’s Bachelor of Computing qualification to be more advanced than a bachelor programme of European standards.
CEO, Enrico Jacobs, stressed the important role educational institutions, and more specifically institutions of higher education, must play in providing a holistic education that reflects the needs of the increasingly globalised world we live in. He encouraged the Belgium Campus community to continue to actively and purposefully collaborate to prepare Belgium Campus graduates for the future they deserve.