Message from the University of KwaZulu-Natal

The University of KwaZulu-Natal realizes the urgent need for the review of knowledge systems in general. It is not too late for us to identify and mitigate the risks associated with a monolithic education system that is misguided by the poor interpretation of the concept of the 'fourth industrial revolution'. We recognize that the diminished knowledge about our environment and natural resources has occurred concomitantly with industrial revolution. This has separated us from the real world of science. We applaud the fruitful efforts of The Conservation Symposium in highlighting the recent findings in the different areas of natural resources. The intriguing approaches used by scientists and natural resource practitioners, as evidenced by the abstracts of contributions from the different parts of the world in this Symposium, are useful for the necessary review of the broader biology, plant and animal science curricula. This is required in order to train students who are relevant to the employer and society needs. The Symposium combines the aspects of data analysis, species identification, management, and policy very neatly. This is designed for a high level academic, a manager, a policy-maker, and a practitioner at the same time. Sessions are well organized to allow for a good imbibition of knowledge and information. We believe that our staff, students, and active alumni will be able to use the opportunity to participate in this Symposium, to come up with new strategies to create a nexus of the relevant nature conservation viewpoints for curriculum development and research innovation. This will allow the university to expand partnerships with industry and other organisations for the purpose of mutual benefit. We look forward to the dissemination of The Symposium information afterwards, so that we can use it to enhance knowledge in the relevant fields teaching and research in agriculture, engineering and science.

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