On Tuesday 1 November the ambassador of South Africa, her Excellence Celia-Sandra Botha, accompanied by a councillor Wouter Zaayman, administrative attache Florina Tshibule Matsimela, and a political secretary Zdeňka Herclová, arrived in Pardubice. One of their goals was to visit Jan Perner Transport Faculty as there are 16 South African students studying there. (With support of the Ministry of Transport of South Africa, they have been studying various bachelor programmes there since 2008.)
Immediately following their arrival, the appreciated visit was taken in by the faculty`s vice-dean for external relations, assoc. prof. Ing. Petr Průša, Ph.D. Also Assoc. prof. Ing. Tatiana Molková, Ph.D., the vice-rector for science, came to wish them a warm welcome. It was her who established the cooperation with South Africa. As is customary, the delegation was furthermore greeted by the dean of the Transport faculty, prof. Ing. Bohumil Culek, CSc., and then a tour of the faculty laboratories followed. The purpose was to introduce the guests to the environment in which the students apply theoretical knowledge gained during the lectures into practice. First, the laboratory of the Department of transport structures was introduced. The demonstration of its equipment with assistence of assoc. prof. Ing. Jiřího Pokorný, CSc., was performed by the students themselves. Afterwards, the visit was brought to the Transport hall, where Ing. Josef Bulíček, Ph.D. proudly introduced a unique model of railway. The guests were nicely surprised by the illustrative nature of the laboratory.
The second part of the programme took place in the dean`s meeting room. Assoc. prof. Průša familiarized the delegation with the study results of the South African students, and possibilities of making the education more effective were discussed. Finally, before the visit had to leave to attend to political matters again, they were given the opportunity to speak with the students. The students doubtlessly appreciated the chance to share their impressions, worries, and possibly express any feelings of homesickness they might have. They have been in the Czech Republic for four years after all!
All in all, the visit from the South African Embassy may be considered as universally beneficial.
The existing mutual cooperation was strengthened, and, who knows, maybe even foundations to a new one were laid. Madam ambassador at least suggested that should there be talks of recruitment of new South African students to Jan Perner Transport Faculty, she would gladly support this idea.