August 28, 2017 - 9:45am
Partnership between VIU and Tanzania’s National College of Tourism aims at launching new program by 2019
Vancouver Island University (VIU) faculty embarked on a trip through Kenya and Tanzania this summer to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones.
One of the main goals of the trip was to reconnect with partners at Tanzania’s National College of Tourism (NCT). It was a reciprocal visit, as senior college officials from NCT, which has three campuses in Tanzania, visited the Nanaimo campus last year.
VIU is working with NCT to launch a new tourism and hospitality program for the college by 2019. Funding for the collaborative project is provided through Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) Improving Skills Training for Employment Program (ISTEP). ISTEP is a five-year Government of Canada funded initiative that aims to build the capacity of technical and vocational institutions in Tanzania.
“We discovered on this trip that we have been one of the most ambitious in creating program packages, as we are developing two degrees from start to finish,” said Dr. Aggie Weighill, a VIU Recreation and Tourism professor.
VIU is working with NCT to create a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, a bachelor’s degree in travel and tourism and a diploma, which NCT calls an ordinary diploma, in events management. The degrees can be completed in three years, as opposed to four, to fit into NCT’s curriculum. In addition, Dr. David Witty, VIU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, met with senior NCT staff and several government officials to explore opportunities to further enhance programming collaboration.
Tanzania has some “incredibly unique conservation areas,” said Weighill, adding that the country is looking at expanding tourism and hospitality opportunities to other areas as it currently has a heavy reliance on wildlife tourism.
While in Tanzania the group, which also included Jean-Guy Robichaud, a Hospitality Management professor, toured Lake Manyara and Kilimanjaro national parks, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Biosphere and the National College of Tourism’s Arusha Campus.
“We had an opportunity to explore many of the tourism products, which helped inform our curriculum development for the ISTEP project. The wildlife and park systems are something to experience and what I found interesting is the will and desire of different stakeholders to diversify their tourism product,” said Robichaud, a Hospitality Management professor. “Stakeholders, government and industry do not want to solely depend on wildlife tourism.”
Tanzania was the final leg of the journey. Prior to visiting the country, in June and early July, delegates travelled through Kenya, where Weighill, Robichaud, Jonelle Knowles and Peter Briscoe, hospitality management professors, attended the ATLAS Africa Conference in Eldoret. During the conference Weighill presented research by VIU’s and Tanzania’s National College of Tourism ISTEP teams.
Robichaud also presented his doctoral research proposal and attended a PhD workshop. His PhD explores cross cultural higher education partnerships between developed economies and developing economies.
“Some of the faculty who attended my session indicated interest in my research and offered help and resources concerning my topic and interest to potentially participate in a case study,” said Robichaud. “My topic is really relevant to our current ISTEP project and to the reality of today’s university/college environment which includes regional, national and international partnerships.”
Representatives from NCT will visit the Nanaimo campus in early September for two weeks. They will focus on working on the curriculum for the ISTEP Project and explore different teaching techniques by participating in classroom learning and working with VIU’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL).
Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
Tags: Teaching and Learning