Malawi: Experts Brainstorm On Enhancing Engineering Skills for Sustainable Agriculture
By Watipaso Mzungu
Local and international experts in the agriculture sector have convened at Bunda Campus of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) to share lessons and knowledge on how they can address engineering gaps and to showcase the role of engineering in economic development.
The conference, which has drawn experts from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom (UK), among others, has been organized through the Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Sahara Africa (HEPSSA) Project, which the UK Government is financing through the Royal Academy of Engineering.
HEPSSA Project is a network of engineering faculties and schools in some Eastern and Southern African universities linked to a UK university with the aim of enhancing quality of engineering education and training.
In an interview with Nyasa Times after the official opening of the conference, LUANAR Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Dr. Vincent Mgoli Mwase, said the project’s major objective is to enhance the quality of engineering education and training through academic staff secondment to industry; invitation of industry experts to university as guest lecturers; collaborative research with industry, industry supported curriculum review and knowledge sharing workshops.
“So, the workshop that is taking place here is basically to strengthen the partnership between the academia and the industry partners.
“The whole idea is that we want to ensure that whatever we do in the academia should trickle down to the industry and, at the same time, whatever happens in the industry should also be part of what we are doing in the academia,” said Mwale.
He said over the past years, they noted that there were several areas that the academia was doing, but was missing the link with the industry partners.
Mwale disclosed that majority of the graduates lacked practical expertise when they join the industry.
In his remarks, HEPSSA Project principal investigator and Head of Engineering Department, Dr. Grivin Mvula, said the conference offers the experts the best platform to bang heads on how they can contribute towards the socioeconomic development of their respective countries through enhanced engineering skills.