Students from across the SADC Region converge at Africa University to share insights and the inspiration behind The Student Academic Freedom Movement


10 December 2018
Story By
Jeanette Dadzie
OAPA Correspondent

Africa University was proud to host students from Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Malawi for a programme targeted at raising awareness and dialogue on issues relating to Student Academic Freedom and regional advocacy for the cause. Jointly hosted by AU’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance and the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) , the goals of the initiative are to create an inclusive environment for students to attain and pursue inclusive and equitable higher education, encourage youth participation in policy formulation, capacitate youth organizations to contribute meaningfully to national development and lastly to improve the overall quality of Higher and Tertiary education in the Southern African region.

In the welcoming remarks delivered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, the importance of advocating for education that is contextually based and relevant to the continent was emphasized as an integral right of the African student. He went on to add,

“Our freedoms as students, and educators also extend to our right to question and interrogate what we learn and teach respectively. This is of particular importance to students as the end consumer of education.”

Mr. Joseph Zishiri, a 3rd year Economics student at Africa University and representative for the AU Student Union at the event spoke of the importance of the occasion,

“This is a great opportunity which I must say comes once in a lifetime. Participating in this initiative means a lot to me personally firstly, it is being held at an institution that I consider Home-Africa University, and secondly because I feel inspired and empowered to become a better leader and advocate for youth rights. I had never really been acquainted with the concept of Student Academic Freedom and what it entails so I am learning so much from being here. It is truly a privilege.”

Ms. Andrea Makinna a 3rd year Psychology student said,

“In a country where the population is made up of youth, I feel that being a part of this programme directly impacts me as an aspiring researcher. I understand that through my empowerment, I can now go forward and empower others.”

Bertha Chawatama, an Africa University student, spoke highly of the diversity and inclusivity of the programme saying,

“I hope to make international networks with my fellow students from other nations. I look forward to exercising my academic freedoms and making a difference in how the continent’s youth are educated."

YETT is a youth networking organization committed to the full participation of youth in sustainable development and is dedicated to the advocacy and capacity building of youth organizations in Zimbabwe.

To find out more about the ongoing conference or learn more on academic rights and how you can get involved, please look up the Student Academic Freedom Regional Advocacy Programme on Twitter using the hashtag #WAOA (WE- ARE- ONE AFRICA) where you can hear from the programme coordinators, participants and join the conversation.