UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, and the Associate Scientific Director of Caprisa and renowned HIV/AIDS and TB researcher, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, will receive national awards of commendation from President Jacob Zuma at the weekend.

Makgoba has been awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver for ‘his dedication and excellent contribution to the field of science and medicine, locally and internationally; and for his contribution to the building of democracy in South Africa’.

Announcing the honour, the Director-General in the Presidency, Cassius Lubisi described Makgoba as ‘an outstanding academic and a pioneer of transformation in Higher Education’.

Abdool Karim receives the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze for ‘her outstanding work in the field of HIV, AIDS and TB research; and her role in health policy development which is placing South Africa on the international stage’.

The two UKZN personalities are among a host of other South Africans and international luminaries who will receive national honours at a Freedom Day ceremony on Saturday.

The national orders are the highest awards a country, through its President, can bestow on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed to the advancement of democracy and have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The orders also recognise the contributions made by individuals who contributed and continue to contribute to a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the Constitution.

The Chair of the Council of UKZN, Mrs Phumla Mnganga, congratulated and applauded Makgoba on ‘achieving this notable milestone in his distinguished career.  Equally, I applaud his contributions to medicine and science.’

‘Under his decisive leadership, the University has secured global partnerships to establish major research initiatives that include the prestigious KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH),’ said Mnganga.

‘His indefatigable commitment to speaking out on issues of importance and his clear vision of a transformed South Africa have consistently informed his leadership style, his insistence on high standards and his capacity to effect institutional change.

‘His bold stand against AIDS denialism pitted him against highly influential thinkers in the late 1990s and early 2000s.’

UKZN’s acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nelson Ijumba, congratulated Abdool Karim on her award saying she had made seminal contributions on the evolving epidemiology and prevention of HIV in women, ethics and human rights and was internationally recognised for her scientific contributions to studies in HIV and AIDS.

‘Abdool Karim has been devoted to stemming the global AIDS epidemic for more than two decades culminating in her recent scientific discovery that Tenofovir gel can prevent HIV infection and genital herpes in women.

‘This research, which produced the world’s first HIV protection technology for women, was ranked among the Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010 by the prestigious journal, Science.’

Ijumba said Abdool Karim’s findings had served as the basis for the WHO’s international policies and guidelines on TB and HIV co-treatment.

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Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Nelson Ijumba, and Dean and Head of School for Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Kesh Govinder, were hosted at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site at Carnarvon in the Northern Cape as part of a national university leadership delegation.

The visit was arranged by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to give the delegates an update on the progress being made with regards to the SKA project.

SKA - a two billion Euro project awarded to South Africa and Australia - is the largest astronomy venture of its kind world-wide.  The project will involve hundreds of South African and international scientists and train even larger numbers of South African students. It will ensure that South Africa realises its goal of being a choice international astronomy destination.

During their visit, Ijumba and Govinder highlighted the work being done in the field at UKZN where many scientists at the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit were already integrally involved in research related to the SKA. UKZN was thus well-positioned to be part of this national project.

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Constitutional Court judge, Mr Justice RMM Zondo, returned to his alma mater recently to deliver the opening address at the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) Conference hosted by UKZN’s School of Law.

Addressing academics and legal professionals from the Commonwealth, Zondo expressed gratitude to Commonwealth countries for their help in the fight against apartheid.

His talk revolved around Patent Law, Labour Law and Constitutional Law and how the South African courts often referred to the academic writings coming out of the Commonwealth when amending its laws.

The theme of the Conference - Legal Education and Regional Cooperation in the Commonwealth and other Common Law Jurisdictions - sought to address the challenges facing legal education and legal practice in the Commonwealth.

In his presentation, Zondi highlighted how Canadian and English law had influenced and shaped developments in the area of Labour and Constitutional law in South Africa.

‘A Constitution gives legal rights to the citizens of a country. The legal history of a country must be respected, especially the right to a fair trial. We as a nation have chosen to walk the path of advancing human rights and therefore we shall not be party to the death penalty, ‘said Zondi, while addressing the topic of Constitutional Law.

Welcoming delegates to the Conference, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi, said the School of Law was proud of its partnership with the CLEA.

He said the School of Law’s participation in the CLEA Conference signified the promotion of African Scholarship and that the partnership between law schools and CLEA was an example of a collaboration that placed African Scholarship in a wider context.

‘This partnership brings scholars together to promote African Scholarship. The theme is appropriate, interesting and right. A conference of this nature brings legal scholars together to share knowledge on legal education.

‘I’m impressed by the student chapter which had the opportunity to add their voices to the Conference. It’s pleasing to see delegates from as far afield as Australia, India and the Seychelles join us here at UKZN,’ said Mubangizi. ‘It’s encouraging to know that the works of presenters are likely to be adapted for publication in the CLEA journal.’

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Inkuthazokusebenza ngaphansi kohlelo lwe-Street Law ehlanganisa ongoti bezomthetho abavela emazweni angaphandle kanye nezazimfundo ibihlelwe yasingathwa kamuva nje iSikole sezoMthetho ophikweni lase Howard College.

USolwazi David McQuoid -Mason e-UKZN, ubengomunye obesiza kule nkuthazokusebenza nebihlose ukuthi ihlinzeke ngolwazi olucacile lomthetho wasemgwaqeni kanye nokusebenza kwawo mihla yonke. Lo mthetho uhlanganisa amalungelo abantu, umthetho wabathengi kanye namalungelo kwinhlalo-mnotho.

Umthetho wase mgwaqeni  uyaziwa kakhulu e-UKZN ngegalelo lawo lokusebenza. Izindlela zokufundisa lesi sifundo kuhlanganisa: izingxoxo zamaqoqo amancane, impikiswano, izethulo noma izinkulumo kusetshenziswa ubuchwepheshe besimanje obufana no-cyberspace.

Oka-McQuoid – Mason uthe, ‘lowo ongudokotela wezengqondo kwezemfundo ubalule waveza ukuthi ukusebenzisa lezi zindlela ezingenhla zokufundisa kunomphumela omuhle kakhulu’.

‘Imiphakathi iyadinga ukwazi mayelana nalo mthetho ngoba uyasithinta ngezindlela ezingafani ezimpilweni  zethu noma ngabe kuthiwa asiqwashile ngawo kwesinye isikhathi’. 

UMcQuoid – Mason ubeke wathi, ukufunda ngalo mthetho kusus’inkungu kubafundi ukuba babe namakhono  abazowadinga ngesikhathi besebenza njengaba mmeli. Lama khono ambandakanya ikhono  lokuba umkhulumeli/ umvikeli, ukulungiselela izingxoxo zomthetho kanye nokuchaza nje umthetho ngolimi olulula.

‘Lo mkhakha womthetho usiza abafundi ukuba bathole ukuzethemba, baxukuz’ugebhezi, kanye nokufunda ukwengamel’isikhathi’.

Click here for English version

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Mathematics boff Dr Chris Pritchard of Scotland gave two stimulating public presentations at the Mathematics and Computer Science Cluster on the Edgewood campus recently.

The presentations were titled: “A Tour around the Geometry of a Cyclic Quadrilateral, and A Square Peg in a Round Hole”.

Pritchard is a prominent figure in mathematics education internationally and has written about 130 articles on mathematics education.

He is probably most well-known for editing the influential 2003 book: The Changing Shape of Geometry, published by Cambridge University Press and the Mathematical Association of America.

He has spoken on aspects of elementary mathematics, mathematics education and the history of mathematics at conferences around Britain and in the United States.

Pritchard also edits two of the three journals for high school Mathematics teachers in Britain, one of which, Mathematics in School, is well known in English-speaking countries.

He sits on the Scottish Mathematical Council as well as on the Council of The Mathematical Association (MA), for which he has chaired its increasingly influential Teaching Committee, a body that writes policy for the MA and produces evidence for government consideration.

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Six Supplemental Instruction (SI) student leaders are currently contributing to improved academic performance and increased student throughput rates in Environmental Science (specifically Geography and Geology) at Howard College and Westville campuses.

SI leaders Ms Charity Cele, Ms Vyasha Harilai, Ms Megan Mountjoy, Ms Simphiwe Ngwenya, Mr Zayd Hoosen, Ms Lauren Pretorius and Ms Shannon Dixon acknowledge that the programme has enhanced their own critical thinking skills and approaches to learning.

The internationally successful peer-assisted academic support programme originated at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the USA and is offered in 27 countries around the world.  SI targets historically difficult modules and SI leaders are selected on the basis of excellent performance in these modules. The SI Leaders are trained by SI co-ordinators to facilitate learning and understanding through skilful questioning techniques and a range of activities which focus on peer collaboration. They are subsequently awarded certificates recognised by international institutions which means they are qualified to facilitate SI programmes just about anywhere in the English-speaking world. 

Mrs Fran Saunders the Co-ordinator for Environmental Science at UKZN in the School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Sciences explains: ‘The programme benefits good and underperforming students; both groups report deepened understanding and improved marks. This of course only applies where there is regular attendance and skilful facilitation. Regarding the latter, I could not be happier with the performance and dedication of the SI leaders in the programme.’

The programme is in its second semester and the intention is to gradually expand it in the School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Sciences.

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The Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) Conference hosted by the School of Law on the Howard College campus created a platform for law students in the Commonwealth to engage on diverse legal education issues.

Students from several Higher Education institutions in Commonwealth countries made presentations on a variety of themes.

UKZN’s Mr Nikhiel Deeplal addressed the topic: “Effective changes in Human rights: Exposing the reality of human rights when teaching in Commonwealth and Common Law countries”.

Deeplal’s presentation looked at what was the best approach to use when teaching human rights as a module at law school. He said human rights should be a compulsory module taught at more than a theoretical level.

‘We need to make the realities of human rights violations applicable to our lives and teach the subject in a way that we can apply it. We live our comfortable lives oblivious to human rights violations taking place,’ said Deeplal.

‘When studying the subject we must look at mass human rights violations across the globe and make students understand the impact of such violations.

‘Students must be informed of human rights violations taking place outside their countries. Being exposed to the realities of such violations would conscientise students to take action against this type of abuse.’

Ms Meera Mathew, an LLB student from the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi, India, addressed the conference on the topic: “Encouraging Human Rights Teaching in Commonwealth and other Common Law countries”.

The Dean of Law at UKZN, Professor Managay Reddi, addressed students at the Conference urging them to use the event as a platform to interact with peers and academics in the area of human rights and legal education.

‘Make the most of the opportunities coming your way. Your presence here shows your commitment to your studies and career. Your contributions we hope will be converted into journal articles which will reach others out there,’ said Reddi.

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UKZN presented two practically orientated workshops in Uganda recently on writing, editing and publishing stories for adult new readers.

Dr Elda Lyster and Ms Sonya Keyser of New Readers Publishers (NRP) at the Centre for Adult Education at UKZN ran the workshops which formed part of a wider Department of International Development (DFID) partnership in Higher Education project aimed to teach participants to use ethnographic research methods to make adult literacy learning more relevant and interesting to adult learners.

The writing workshops were for adult educators, librarians and aspirant local language writers from Uganda and Ethiopia. There were 27 participants writing in six languages.

The “train-the-trainer” workshops were based on an experiential model of learning in which participants learned “by doing” so that they could use what they learned with their own groups of learners or other adult educators.

The product of the writing and editing workshops will result in a publication later this year of 17 titles in four Ugandan languages - Luo, Lugbara, Luganda and English - and 10 titles in two Ethiopian languages - Amharic and Oromiffa.

According to Keyser, Project Manager at NRP, the books published in Uganda are in dual-text format (the local language and English) so they can be used to learn to read and write in English as well.

All the books were illustrated by a Ugandan illustrator, Mr Abeine Abdul Adam. ‘Abdul produced illustrations of a very high standard in record time and he did the design and layout of the books. The printing was done in Uganda,’ said Keyser.

The books were launched in Kampala in December last year by the Ugandan Commissioner for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr Tumwesigye Everest, who expressed his Ministry’s interest in forming a partnership with a local NGO the Ugandan Adult Education Network (UGAADEN) to print enough copies to ensure that the books were widely available in Ugandan libraries, adult literacy classes and schools.

In Ethiopia 10 000 copies of each of the books are being printed for the Transforming Education for Adults and Children in the Hinterlands (TEACH) projects which service 70 000 Ethiopians. The books will be translated into other Ethiopian languages.

‘It was a tough project – challenging in terms of volume and tight deadlines and complicated by the distance between partners and unwieldy financial systems,’ said Keyser.

‘I am proud of the fact that the books have actually been published – against all odds. They are the first of their kind in Uganda and Ethiopia and both countries have concrete plans to write and publish more in the future, using what they have learned.’

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An interdisciplinary and inter-school - Social Sciences and Education - research partnership between UKZN and the University of the Free State was announced recently on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The research partnership study will focus on community engagement and service learning. 

The study started with a brief but informative workshop to discuss ways in which service learning students can engage more collaboratively with local NGOs. 

A total of 40 participants, comprising academic staff, students, local NGOs and their community members participated in the workshop.  

Feedback was also given on a recently completed action research project involving multidisciplinary teams of students who worked on specific tasks that had been requested by NGOs Ujamaa, CREATE, and Lifeline in Pietermaritzburg. 

A new phase of this project, funded jointly by the University Teaching and Learning fund (TLRCG9) and the National Research Foundation’s Community Engagement funding stream was also introduced. 

‘The aims of the research are to explore the benefits of community-led responsible engagement, involving students working in cross-disciplinary teams.  Workshop participants worked together to explore potential projects for the new phase,’ said Professor Julia Preece of the UKZN School of Education.

Six postgraduate students from the two schools on the Pietermaritzburg campus will assist with researching eight case studies involving NGOs or community based organisations and students from a number of disciplines.

The workshop was jointly organised by Preece and Dr Desiree Manicom of the School of Social Sciences.

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The first Early Reading seminar and workshop of the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa programme (TESSA) – hosted by UKZN’s School of Education on the Pietermaritzburg campus - brought together 12 specialists from partner universities in Africa.

The objective of this workshop was to discuss and embark on developing the Early Reading module.

Individual institutional presentations covered programmes and perspectives on teaching early reading and reflected the national early reading and languages policy.

A discussion on the African Storybook was followed by further debate regarding themes, pedagogy and content for early reading among the participating educators. This paved the way for intensive discussions and activities on the Early Reading module structure and content.

‘The module structure, content as well as activities had been agreed upon and each university was assigned to develop one or two units/chapters of the module for submission in four months in preparation for the second seminar in October at one of the partner universities,’ explained Dr Tabitha Mukeredzi of UKZN’s School of Education.

According to Mukeredzi, the module for submission is in line with TESSA’s aims of producing materials (a module) for teaching Early Reading which ‘work’ across different national contexts and curricula in Africa. The plan is to complete the module and begin to use it in TESSA partner institutions next year.

It will be published, like all TESSA materials, on the website as an Open Educational Resource (OER) freely available to any university, college and group of teacher educators who wish to use it.

‘Resources are in English but incorporate teaching strategies in multilingual classes or classes where English is not the medium of instruction,’ said Mukeredzi.

‘The TESSA Early Reading Project, led by The Open University in the United Kingdom, incorporates the Winneba University of Education in Ghana, the Open University of Tanzania and Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda, the South African Institute of Distance Education and UKZN, which is the most recent recruit.

‘Heartfelt thanks go to all of those who travelled to South Africa to begin this important and exciting new TESSA project and to the School of Education at UKZN for the warmth of their hospitality. UKZN welcomed TESSA, and now TESSA welcomes UKZN to its community!’ said Mukeredzi.

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The newly-appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, was the inaugural speaker at the launch of the Business Organisation and Leadership Development (BOLD) Post-Graduate Seminars at the Howard College UNITE/School of Engineering building on 12 April.

Ramjugernath, one of the most highly-cited Chemical Engineering researchers on the African continent, made a strident argument for boosting postgraduate studies. His presentation provided numerous examples and case studies of the relationship between postgraduate knowledge production and economic growth. He paid particular attention to the example of South Korea which, with very similar challenges to South Africa, is currently one of the most successful industrialised countries in the world after investing heavily in educational research and development.

The BOLD Post-Graduate Seminars aim to promote and elevate intellectual discourse across disciplines and also promote intellectual synergy between postgraduate students at UKZN. By providing a platform on which postgraduate students can also interact with thought leaders, it is intended that these events will increase the pipeline of students into postgraduate research.

For further information on BOLD, send enquiries to:

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Professor Geoff Harris, formerly of the School of Economics and Finance at UKZN and now lecturing part-time at the Durban University of Technology, presented a stimulating seminar on: “Dissertation Examining: Reducing the Stress and Fighting Bureaucracy at the same time”.

The seminar - hosted by UKZN’s College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay - was part of the College of Law and Management Studies on-going Teaching and Learning forums.

Based on his wide experience as an internal, external and international examiner, Harris said being an examiner ‘is part of an academic’s collegial responsibility and collegiality is worth building’.

Harris emphasised that establishing the criteria for examining was very important and could differ from university to university in the following ways:

• The criteria provided;

• The number (if any) of publishable or published articles in the thesis i.e. indicators of  contributions to knowledge for PhD and research masters;
• The research objectives/questions as stated by the student.

While stressing that it was important for examiners to have their own framework for examining, which should be in line with the examining university’s criteria, he cautioned that “one size does not fit all”.

He especially warned against an examiner thinking that the study should have been done differently. Rather, students must be assessed on the research aims/questions and methods they have chosen, which would have been done with supervisors’ and School’s support.

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The crisp autumn air did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the University Tuition for Engineers (UNITE) programme learners who participated in the recent Spirit of Adventure activities on 13 April at the Howard College soccer grounds.

Experiential learning, in which teamwork, creative problem-solving, leadership and planning are emphasised, forms an integral part of UNITE’s ethos of holistic education. Students’ strategic thinking and teamwork abilities were tested with tug-o-war, “mind munching” creative problem-solving and various physically-demanding challenges.

The Spirit of Adventure, which is Shongweni-based and runs bespoke mobile youth development programmes, enjoys a long and beneficial working relationship with the UNITE programme.

For more information on UNITE, send an enquiry to:

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