Collaboration Among Veterinary Scientists

Saide's OER Africa Initiative, together with the University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science are collaborating with academics from 5 vet schools in sub-Saharan Africa

Najma Agerdien

Saide’s OER Africa Initiative, together with the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, are engaging with Deans, Senior Management and academic staff at five veterinary schools in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to explore collaborative opportunities of identifying and sharing quality open educational resources with the intent to impact positively on the education of veterinary professionals in the region. Dr Najma Agherdien recently visited Sokoine University of Agriculture  (SUA) in Tanzania together with Prof Dietmar Holm from the University of Pretoria (UP) to explore possible opportunities.

The visit included a meeting with the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Prof Maulilo Kipanyula and senior staff members, a site visit and a workshop. It is apparent that much exciting and important work is happening at the college and that there are many opportunities for collaboration. These include:

  • Research prospects in the area of veterinary tropical diseases,
  • Tapping into Health aquatic resources in Tanzania, and
  • A six-week exchange programme scheduled for 2018.

Opportunities for sharing teaching and learning resources were explored during a five-hour workshop where participants identified the need for more collaborative approaches, but spoke about related challenges of sharing of resources, training and support. However, participants  were very eager to contribute to the AfriVIP Veterinary Information portal, with the aim of sharing open educational resources (OER) and research findings with veterinary and paraveterinary  professionals , students and other stakeholders to provide high quality continuing professional development training opportunities. Participants agreed to send any identified resources to Dr Doreen Ndossi, who will join other OER changpions at Onderstepoort to identify and enhance OER contributions from within the consortium, licensing them with a Creative Commons Licence and uploading them to the AfriVIP portal.

One of the many highlights of the trip was the site visit. One got a good sense of the very exciting work happening at the college and the important contributions that the college is making to promote development of the local and international community. As part of its patient care offering, residents, and supervised students provide emergency care, treatment, and hospitalization for animal patients. We had an opportunity to visit the clinic and other facilities.

The energy of SUA staff was very encouraging and infectious and SUA, UP and OER Africa are very keen to work towards long-term, sustainable, collaboration and engagement.