Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh (fourth left) hands over a token of appreciation to Dr My Lilja (fifth left) from the University of Gӓvle. They are seen with staff and the Dean and Head of School, Prof Jean Steyn (eighth left), from the School of Applied Human Sciences.

Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh (fourth left) hands over a token of appreciation to Dr My Lilja (fifth left) from the University of Gӓvle. They are seen with staff and the Dean and Head of School, Prof Jean Steyn (eighth left), from the School of Applied Human Sciences.

Criminology & Forensic Studies hosts visiting scholars from Sweden

Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh (fourth left) hands over a token of appreciation to Dr My Lilja (fifth left) from the University of Gӓvle. They are seen with staff and the Dean and Head of School, Prof Jean Steyn (eighth left), from the School of Applied Human Sciences.
Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh (fourth left) hands over a token of appreciation to Dr My Lilja (fifth left) from the University of Gӓvle. They are seen with staff and the Dean and Head of School, Prof Jean Steyn (eighth left), from the School of Applied Human Sciences.

The Criminology and Forensic Studies discipline within the School of Applied Human Sciences recently hosted visiting scholars Dr My Lilja and Dr Amir Rostami, from the Criminology Department at the University of Gӓvle (Sweden).

The visiting academics spent a week at the School during which they met UKZN academics and spoke about international collaboration, future applications, articles and teaching exchange.

Besides the discussion about a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UKZN and the University Of Gavle, an application for the Linnaeus-Palme grant was made.

According to Criminology and Forensic Studies lecturer Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh, the general aim of this project is to increase and deepen knowledge about crime, criminology, and how to engage scientifically with the concept of Criminology for both teachers and students at the two universities.

Plans are underway to develop student and teaching exchange in Criminology between the universities in which two students and two lecturers from UKZN will visit the University of Gävle either in 2018 or 2019 while two students and two lecturers from Gävle will come to UKZN in 2019 or 2020.

‘The long term aim of this project is to develop a global understanding of crime and criminal behaviour and contribute to the limited body of knowledge currently available. Criminology research and education have largely focused on explaining crime and reasons for crime from a Western European (especially British and American perspective) and in today’s literature in education there is a lack of research about crime from a Southern African perspective,’ explained Balgobind Singh.

She said that through this exchange between South Africa and Sweden, the quality in higher education in Criminology could increase. ‘This cooperation will also lead to an understanding for other cultural and contextual explanations of crime and criminal behaviour. Cooperation in Criminology between South Africa and Sweden is particularly interesting as Sweden has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and South Africa has one of the highest. Other long term consequences are collaboration in future research projects between the universities such as publishing of books, reports and scientific articles,’ said Balgobind Singh.

During their visit, the Swedish academics were given a tour of the Howard College campus, met with postgraduate students and researchers and presented a guest lecture on Criminology in the 21st Century and discussed Criminology in Sweden (prevalent crimes e.g. Drugs) with first year students during their lectures.

Balgobind Singh sees this as a starting point for the internationalisation of Criminology and Forensic Studies with the subsequent and continued growth of the discipline at UKZN.