Dons Gather to Thrash out Universities' 2015 Role

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BYLINE: GEORGE THOMSON

ACADEMIC leaders from around the world have gathered in the Western Cape, as a major conference explores the role of universities in achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The three-day conference, which is organised by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), brought together leaders from more than 500 universities.

The conference, which began at UCT yesterday, sought to explore the role universities played in the formulation and implementation of the eight international development goals that UN member states have agreed to achieve by 2015.

In an address to assembled delegates to mark the opening of the conference, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said South Africa was committed to employing higher education in the fight against poverty.

"Developing countries must continue to work towards increasing their spending in the higher education sector," he said.

"South Africa has prioritised expenditure on education (and) research and development... Our short-term target is to have 1 percent of GDP going towards research and development. …