College visits University of Zululand
Stirling Smith, International Programmes Manager at the Co-operative College, recently addressed the Co-operative Management Students Society at the University of Zululand in South Africa.
About 110 first and second year co-operative management students gathered at the Richards Bay City Campus to listen carefully to a definition of ‘co-operative’ as explained by Sindisiwe Sokhulu of the Co-operative Management Students Society.
Other keynotes included types of co-operatives, examples of co-operatives and their core business descriptions, membership, the International Year of Co-operatives and the Co-operative College’s partnership with the KwaZulu Natal Department of Economic Development.
Stirling explained: “The Co-operative College has been working in KwaZulu Natal for more than one year; the province is one of the poorest in South Africa, but also one of the most committed to co-operative development. During the apartheid period, the co-operative ideal was distorted and they were a mechanism for providing cheap credit to white farmers. South Africa now has a very good legal framework for co-operatives and national and provincial governments have spent quite a lot of money on start-up support for new co-operatives. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to show for these efforts.
“KwaZulu Natal is now trying to relaunch its support for cooperatives. As part of this, the provincial government has sponsored a three year diploma course for young people who have a co-operative background, at the University of Zululand. The campus is at Richards Bay, in the north of the province, a big industrial centre and a major port. But most of the students have a rural background. The students are very enthusiastic and hungry for information about the co-operative movement globally.
“I was asked to talk to the first and second year students and I chose the topic of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. At the Co-operative College, we want to make every session that we teach interactive, so I tried to get students on their feet and do some role-plays. Some of them were a bit shy but I think they enjoyed the session and I know I did.”
Published On: April 18, 2012
Written By: Natalie
Filed Under: Co-operatives Globally