UKZN in partnership with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia last week hosted a conference – the first of its kind in South Africa - to discuss challenges facing Higher Education in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


The two-day QS Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education (2nd QS-MAPLE) Conference and Exhibition was held at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban on 3-4 May.


Forty-six presentations by leading academics from 42 countries looked at how to promote the development of Higher Education in the Middle East and Africa in the global context, stimulate international partnerships, and support the processes of institutional evaluation and upgrading that would lead to greater worldwide recognition of the universities.


Several UKZN leading academics presented during the conference. The QS-MAPLE Conference was launched in response to growing interest from the international Higher Education community in holding a major annual forum similar to the successful QS-APPLE (QS Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education) Conference – now in its seventh year - that addresses the fast-emerging globalisation of Higher Education in the Middle East and Africa.


In an opening address, UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, spoke about the core business of a university and examined how universities had shaped the fortunes of mankind over the years. He said it was important for the conference to encourage universities to focus on core values.


Presentations also looked at the criteria used in the world rankings of universities, whether the rankings should be categorised in regions and how universities could better prepare students for the global market.

Ukubambisana phakathi kwe-UKZN kanye noMasipala weTheku mayelana nokuthuthukiswa kwamakhono kwezamabhizinisi eCato Manor sekwakhe amathuba okuqasha intsha esiqede umatikuletsheni kulendawo kepha eswele imisebenzi. 


Lentsha esanda kuqeqeshwa esikhungweni iHoward College eNyuvesi lapho ichithelwe ulwazi kwezocwaningo kanye nangomphakathi wayo, iCato Manor.


‘Sikhethe abafundi bamatikuletsheni ukuba basize kulolucwaningo lokhu okuzobanika umsebenzi kuphinde kubaphe nolwazi oluzobasiza uma bazi kabanzi ngendawo abakhulele kuyo,’ kusho uDkt Sylvia Kaye obengusihlalo kusungulwa lolucwaningo.


Uthe labafundi balusukumela lolucwaningo futhi baba nemibono encomekayo yokuthi lungaqhutshwa kanjani kusukela ngalesikhathi beqeqeshwa. 


UMnu Nathi Zondi oyiLocal Economic Development Officer kuMasipala weTheku eCato Manor uthe lolucwaningo luhlele ukuthola ukuthi osomabhizinisi bendawo banahlobo luni loqeqesho kwezamabhizinisi nokuthi lokhu kulithuthukisa kanjani ibhizinisi labo.


‘Sizohlola izidingo zezakhamuzi zaseCato Manor bese siqhathanise namathuba amabhizinisi angase asungulwe ngalezo zidingo.’


Abafundi abathathu abenza iMasters kwiPopulation Studies nabo basize ngokuhlanganisa umbiko ekupheleni kocwaningo.


Ngokusho kwaKaye, kube lula ukuthi abafundi baseNyuvesi bazwane nalabo baseCato Manor ngokuthi bonke bebehumusha isiZulu besizana futhi. 


UNksz Thandeka Dladla u
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The worth of academics should not be based on the number of research articles they have published but rather how many times their work is cited.


This is according to Dr Sadiq Sait, a Professor in the Computer Engineering Department of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, who recently addressed a gathering at UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership Studies auditorium.


Dr Sait’s lecture was titled: “Institutional Repositories: Objectives and Benefits”. His talk was divided into two parts.  The first was on the functions and benefits of repositories as an environment for collecting, preserving and disseminating in digital form the intellectual output of an institution, while the second focused on the h-index, a digital tool which attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar.


Dr Sait shared his experiences and the success his university had attained through running their repository.


‘How do you get people to put stuff on the repository? It is not easy to start with but that is the only hard part. You have to convince them the world will benefit from their knowledge and that is what they have done research for.


‘A repository also makes it very easy for them to access their papers wherever they are.  For example for the presentation I am giving now, I do not have to bring my flash disc to deliver this talk. All I do is log onto the repository and download it as a large number of my presentations are in there under the presentations category. This means others who want to use this presentation can do so,’ said Sait.


The presentation also highlighted the significant role institutional repositories played not only in improving an institute’s profile but also improving staff profile and branding.


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Delegates from African and European countries met in Durban recently under the auspices of UKZN for the fourth annual meeting of the European Union (EU)-funded project, Improved Nutrition through Staple Foods in Africa (INSTAPA).


Addressing malnutrition in developing countries, INSTAPA is a large five-year collaborative project consisting of seven work packages designed to achieve its goals.


The project has found that malnutrition - especially deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin A - hinders progress towards achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. The seven INSTAPA work packages address different aspects of its main aim which is to improve the quality of the staple foods consumed in resource constrained areas in sub-Saharan Africa.


Different work packages take responsibility for improving agricultural practices and food processing to improve the nutritional content of staple foods. Others deal with health and safety issues for pregnant women and infants, and assess the benefits for developing children. All work packages search for ways to sustain the improved nutrition.


The INSTAPA partners contribute towards building research capacity to address these issues by including PhD and Masters level students in their research programmes and by strengthening scientific and technological collaboration across countries.


Dr Jane Kvalsvig from UKZN’s Discipline of Public Health, is the Principal Investigator for Work Package 6 which has been assessing the cognitive development of children six months and older receiving micronutrient supplementation (with and without iron) in the Kenyan-based programme. The project staff has enrolled more than 300 mothers and children in the study, and the researchers have trained fieldworkers and Ministry of Health staff in Kenya in research methods and ethics.


Two UKZN Paediatricians, Professor Meera Chhagan and Dr Shuaib Kauchali, were involved in the training process and are monitoring the study. Two of the four PhD candidates being trained through Work Package 6 are enrolled at UKZN, in addition to several Masters students.


What can a teacher do with a cell phone? That is the question two groups of rural teachers - one from the Vulindlela district of KwaZulu-Natal and the other from the Eastern Cape - have been exploring particularly in the context of making cellphilms (mobile phone films) on issues related to their own teaching circumstances.


In two-day workshops in April, teachers learned more about how they could use their own cell phones to produce documentaries and dramas in their classrooms and communities as well as key aspects of making films such as planning, storyboarding, doing the shoot, being the camera person, being the Director or an Actor, and working with titles and credits. 


The project is financed by UKZN's College of Humanities Strategic Fund, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is headed up by Professor Relebohile Moletsane the JL Dube Chair in Rural Education and Professor Claudia Mitchell, an Honorary Professor at UKZN's School of Education.


In the first phase of the project teachers are working in their own schools and communities, but in the second phase teachers from KwaZulu-Natal will visit and network with the teachers from the Eastern Cape who are working with Professor Naydene de Lange, the Chair in HIV and AIDS Education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.


Teachers can become 'film makers' in their own classrooms and - as is being discovered in this project - they can also develop new networks with other teachers who are also producing cellphilms.


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An online e-discussion on Assessing Impact from Poverty Reduction Interventions is being presented this week by UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies in collaboration with the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) and the United Nations Academic Impact.

Staff and students are encouraged to visit the web link: to participate, and share their diverse views, opinions and real-life experiences with people from around the world on poverty and impact assessments through an interactive e-discussion.

The online e-discussion focuses on three themes: “Trends and priorities in applied poverty interventions”; “Methodologies of applied poverty reduction assessment”; and “Research and policy influence for poverty reduction impact”.


According to SARChl Research Project Manager Ms Kathleen Diga, the contributions can include up and coming poverty interventions or case studies demonstrating the main successes and challenges encountered in the study or evaluation; ideas of possible or promising evaluation practices to better measure poverty and cases of successes and challenges in working to influence policy through poverty impact assessments.

‘To understand some of these complexities in measuring impact of poverty- reducing interventions, this e-discussion will engage with post-graduate students, experts, researchers, policy makers, NGOs, community members and development managers to identify worthwhile issues for investigation, improve the linkages and synergies of such work and to find mechanisms to better influence policy on poverty reduction strategies,’ said Diga.

She also pointed out that by reviewing a mix of assessment methodologies, broadening the conceptualisation of poverty beyond a narrow income-based approach, and by assessing separately the outputs,
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Former UKZN academic and a pioneer in the field of theatre and AIDS communication, Professor Lynn Dalrymple (71), has died after a long battle with kidney failure.


Born and schooled in Durban, Dalrymple started her career in Empangeni in the 1960s as a teacher of English and Drama, later being appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Zululand (UNIZUL). During this period, she challenged the accepted practice of using only Western texts and teaching methods at the university and fought for contextual and cultural relevance - a central theme throughout her later work.


Dalrymple had a great love and passion for theatre and went on to establish the Department of Drama at UNIZUL where she was Professor and Head between 1988 and 1996.  She pioneered the use of drama in education and drama for development; ensuring that a generation of students was exposed to a way of thinking that linked academia to the surrounding community through meaningful interventions.


In 1992 Dalrymple was approached by the late Dr Allan Jaffe to create an educational programme to inform young people about preventing sexually transmitted infections. Using innovative drama workshops and performances, Dalrymple initiated the DramAidE (Drama in AIDS Education) project which won numerous contracts, awards and funding grants from both local and international donors.


Twenty years on the DramAidE project continues to encourage young people to participate in HIV prevention efforts through its work in schools and universities around the country. DramAidE is one of the most studied projects in the field of health communication in Southern Africa, and has set a standard of excellence with regards to participatory HIV and AIDS communication.


Dalrymple’s enormous impact on the work of DramAidE as a youth-centred, dynamic, and creative approach to AIDS education has significantly influenced scholars and practitioners both in South Africa and internationally.  Many students who studied under Dalrymple have gone on to be leaders in the field of theatre and AIDS education.

The School of Applied Human Sciences on UKZN’s Howard College campus recently hosted Professor Ransom Lekunze of Denmark for three weeks.


Lekunze lectured graduate students, presented research seminars and provided research feedback to postgraduate students.


Lekunze is an assistant Professor at the Metropolitan University College, Copenhagen where he lectures and carries out research on subjects including international trade, sustainable development, environmental policy, consumption and markets and corporate social responsibility.


He is attached to the Global Nutrition and Health programme – a unique international education body which focuses on the contemporary global challenges of nutrition, health and sustainability


Born in the Cameroon, he received a PhD in Development Economics from Lund University in Sweden in 2007.


Lekunze says it is the policy of the Metropolitan University College to develop the professional skills of its faculty members through internationalisation.  However, he had always wanted to visit an African university that was geared towards producing interesting research and therefore chose UKZN.


‘I was fascinated by the coursework and subjects offered by the university on their website and contacted them. An invitation was then extended to me by the Dean of the School of Social Sciences and I gladly accepted and made my way here,’ he said.


Lekunze delivered an enlightening research seminar at the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) on the global financial and economic crisis and its trade i
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Students from the UKZN School of Engineering's UNITE programme recently underwent a challenging one-day workshop designed to stimulate team building, problem solving and personal growth.


The UNITE students were put through their paces by a highly motivated team of Spirit of Adventure facilitators.


Participants jumped, pulled, climbed, reflected, collaborated and challenged themselves to solve problems in creative and innovative ways.


Spirit of Adventure has been conducting on site adventure learning workshops for UNITE for the past decade and forms a vital part of UNITE's holistic teaching and learning curriculum.


UNITE strives to provide an innovative and well-rounded programme which equips its students to cope with the challenges of an engineering degree. While they are given high intensity academic training, students also participate in an entertaining, fun-filled, but challenging series of outdoor activities. These activities provide balance to academic skills by stimulating leadership ability, teamwork and personal development.

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Students from the Hydrographic Surveying module which is offered within the Land Surveying degree enjoyed a field trip to Midmar Dam to explore the practical aspects of the indoor learning material.


They were escorted by Lecturer Mrs Mayshree Singh and MSc students Mr Kovilen Reddy and Mr Vukosi Baloyi, and were hosted by Dam Engineer Mr Desmond van Rensburgh of the Department of Water Affairs.


Desmond, a professional Hydrographic Surveyor, gave an in-depth presentation which covered most of the vital aspects of hydrographic surveying including the nature of the environment the hydrographic surveyors works on the dangers involved, standards followed and quality control guidelines surveyors should adhere to.


He also gave an overview of the various projects he has been involved in throughout his career which include determination of flood lines, surveys for water licence applications and dam sediment level determination using single beam eco-sounders. He provided a demonstration of the software used in order to graph the data collected.


The presentation was followed by a visit to the Dam wall and a demonstration on the specialised setup of the survey boat.
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