Three staff members from the School of Education recently became part of the South African Education Research Association (SAERA) executive - a group of academics officially mandated to take the association from its founding state into a fully operational organisation.

The three academics are Professor Volker Wedekind, Dr Pholoho Morojele and Professor Wayne Hugo.

SAERA is the first organisation to unite the education research community on a non-racist basis and also provides new focus and organisational strength for education academics to pursue systematic research programmes and speak to other education players with a stronger voice.

The executive consists of 12 academics from various universities across South Africa.

‘Our function is to get the basics of SAERA up and running. This consists of creating a constitution, a functioning bank account, a membership drive, funding initiatives, newsletter, website,’ said Hugo.

‘It also involves organising a conference in 2014 that will consolidate the founding legacy with focused research on education in South Africa that gives academics a consolidated platform to explore both what the issues are in SA education and how to take it further in an organised way,’ explained Hugo.

He went on to add that this kind of work had received strong support from management level, and counted as community service in terms of performance management, making the work all the more recognised.

‘Currently discussions are underway to hold the first fully fledged SAERA conference at UKZN next year, which, if secured, will be a triumph for our University,’ said Hugo.

‘It is a great honour for me being part of such a monumental stride by the South African academics to consign to history the divisions of an apartheid legacy and form a consolidated National Education Research Association that takes forward the impetus for a transformed South African Higher Education landscape.

‘It gives me pleasure to see the role UKZN is poised to play in this historic formation through participation of its top academics in the founding SAERA executive.’

Morojele, who is the Academic Leader: Research and Higher Degrees in the School of Education, said:  ‘This is indeed a symbolic signifier of how UKZN, through its academics, plays a critical national role in the efforts to make the South African Higher Education landscape to be truly reflective and representative of the core values that underlie a none discriminatory and democratic South Africa,’ said Morojele, who is also the Academic Leader: Research and Higher Degrees in the School of Education.

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An innovative new initiative led by the University Teaching and Learning Office, in partnership with the School of Education, resulted in 30 academics from different UKZN Schools and Colleges joining student teachers on a recent visit to a diverse array of KwaZulu-Natal secondary schools.

The UKZN Teaching and Learning Policy recognises that the schooling backgrounds of students impact on their performance in Higher Education and that awareness of the schooling experiences of students assists academics  in their teaching. It also advocates that teaching staff should be familiar with the full range of educational contexts from which students enter the University.

The KwaZulu-Natal secondary schools visits gave academics an opportunity to interact with high school learners, teachers and principals, providing them with valuable insights into different schooling conditions.

Professor Bice Martincigh of the School of Chemistry and Physics and UKZN’s 2011 Distinguished Teacher endorsed the initiative: ‘I would like to thank everyone involved for the opportunity given to the academic staff to join the Edgewood students on their visit to local schools.  I found the trip extremely informative and enlightening. The two schools I visited were a stark contrast of attitudes.  What would be extremely interesting would be to see the students’ perceptions of the different schools and perhaps to tie that up with the performance of students from those schools who come to UKZN.’

Universities may not have the capacity to alter the conditions of their student’s schooling environments but they did have the capacity to understand more fully the diversity of students’ experiences, including the effects of schooling and socio-economic background, language, gender, disabilities, and giftedness. Without an understanding of these attributes, we cannot as academics claim to know our students fully.

Ms Shelley Donelly from the School of Accounting, Economics & Finance said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the school visits. Quite an eye-opener for me and a great experience.’

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal stated that she was very pleased with response to this first set of school visits and that further visits are planned for later this year.

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UKZN’s fourth-year medical students hosted a successful Clinical Conference which was attended by UKZN alumnus and MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo. 

The Conference theme was Medical Advances and Dilemmas and, in line with this, Dhlomo presented the National Health Insurance (NHI) Policy to the students. 

The annual Clinical Conference sensitizes MBChB students to research at the undergraduate level and provides a platform for them to debate topical issues affecting the medical fraternity. 

Currently being piloted in 10 healthcare districts across the country, with three in KwaZulu-Natal, the NHI is believed to have the potential to address equities between the public and private health sectors of South Africa. 

This is guided by a set of principles pertaining to healthcare - the right to access, social solidarity, effectiveness, appropriateness, equity, affordability and efficiency.

Dhlomo said if there was any province that should be driving the NHI it was KwaZulu-Natal because it had some of the county’s highest disease burden statistics and there was a need to take on a more preventative approach to health as opposed to the curative model currently evident in the health system.

He said the Department of Health’s (DoH) driving force was the assertion that health was a public service. Ultimately, doctors should be able to go out into a community and find the root of the problem instead of waiting for patients to come into the healthcare facility with the same illnesses.

Dr Jacob Mphatwse, UKZN alumnus and President of the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Branch of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), said the association cautiously and optimistically supported the NHI but remained concerned about the level of exclusive consultation and decision-making processes.

Attesting to the fact that the country’s public health sector catered for 84 percent of the population while the private sector catered for 16 percent, Mphatwse said the demography was unfair but in addressing this, ‘we need to look at the interests of all South Africans’. He said SAMA would like to see the NHI solving the problem and not throwing money at it.

‘There is a lot we can do when it comes to healthcare but we cannot do it without money,’ said Professor Richard Hift, Dean and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine.

Hift said healthcare was a human right no matter who you were, where you lived or how much money you had. ‘Currently the public and private health sectors are in many ways in competition with each other. It is also important to remember that we are not a poor country, neither are we a rich country. We are a middle-income country.’

Hift argued that the financial models of the private sector were unsustainable as the private sector was accessible only to the wealthy and those fortunate enough to have medical aid.

‘NHI is intended to blend the two sectors in a sustainable fashion. For the next five years work will proceed on planning, quality improvement, infrastructure development, planning of resources (including human resources) and the establishment of an NHI fund.’

The fourth-year medical students presented a “Survival Kit” for coping at medical school and also listened to five “Do’s” presented by “medical bookworm” Mr Mathusi Setshago, who said students should remember they did not get to medical school by mistake. 

Setshago encouraged them to stay passionate about medicine, have patience, keep practising, persevere and when problems arose while studying, remember it was a sign to warn them they needed to change their approach. 

The Dean’s Floating Trophy - awarded to the student giving the best presentation at the conference - was shared between Mr Sanele Mncube, for a study on the number of KwaZulu-Natal health care workers admitted to hospital with MDR and XDR tuberculosis, and a group presentation delivered by third-year students, Mr Xolani Buthelezi, Mr Bonginkosi Mafuze and Mr Adebayo Ojewole, on: Reversal of Non-depolarizing Neuromuscular Blocking Agents – Neostigmine or Sugammadex. 

Ms Tabitha Moshoeshoe won second-prize for a study she presented on standards of care in rape cases in South Africa.

Mr Nsizwenye Mkhwanazi, President of the Medical Students Representative Council (MSRC), and conference organiser, Mr Mbongi Mpanza, praised the MBChB students for their outstanding turnout and also thanked a host of academics who attended the Conference, including Professor Thandinkosi Madiba, Head of the Department of Surgery, and Professor Koleka Mlisana, Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control.

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Professor Ari Sitas of the University of Cape Town delivered the first in a series of public lectures and seminars on Democracy and Governance organised by UKZN’s School of Social Sciences and the College of Humanities.

The lecture, on the Howard College campus, was part of the South African Humanities Deans’ Association’s (SAHUDA) preparatory work to boost the Charter for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The School of Social Sciences and the College of Humanities hope that the Democracy and Governance public lecture and seminar series will serve as the springboard for further broadening the on-going debates aimed at strengthening and deepening the foundation of knowledge and practice of democracy and governance in Africa.  

The seminar was titled: “Research Governance in South Africa: Implications for the Social Sciences and the Humanities”.

In his lecture, “Equality and Freedom: The Implications for Stability and Development in South Africa and the Role of the Social Sciences”, Sitas said on the equality front, scholars in the social sciences had a lot to contribute to society.  ‘For instance, one could work to recast the normative basis and ways that social sciences can help identify the structural impediments to societal change.’ 

With this in mind, he provided a set of 11 propositions including turning our World Heritage sites into Knowledge centres, establishing Afro-India collaborations, strengthening public debate and the intellectual and creative life of all provinces and even looking at post conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.

‘We should create a body of African scholars, future communities and enhance scholarships. Only by slowly building communities of scholarships that are transnational in serious conversation with each other can we realistically create the conditions for development in South Africa and the South,’ said Sitas.

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Izazimfundo, abafundi asebeneziqu kanye nalabo asebeneziqu zobudokotela kamuva nje banikezwe isifundo esiyisisekelo esibizwa phecelezi - Intellectual Property (IP) kwinkuthazokusebenza yosuku olulodwa ebibanjelwe ophikweni lase-Westville.

Inkuthazokusebenza ibivuleleke kubasebenzi abaqhamuka e-UKZN, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), University of Zululand (UZ) kanye ne- Durban University of Technology (DUT), ebiyethulwa uNksz Jacqueline Barnett kanye no Nksz Mary-Ann Chetty be-Technology Transfer Office e-Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

I-Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) bebambisene ne-National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) kanye ne-UKZN Technology Transfer Office (UKZN InQubate), basingathe inkuthazokusebenza esihloko sayo sithi: “IP Wise™”, neyenziwa ezikhungweni zemfundo kuyo yonke iNingizimu Afrika. 

 I-KZNROTT izama ukumisa iqinise umsebenzi wabo wobuchwepheshe njengalowo ohamba phambili hhayi nje kuphela kwizikhungo zesifundazwe kodwa kulo lonke elika-Mthaniya ukusabalalisa ulwazi oluqhuba phambili ezomnotho.

Inkuthazokusebenza ifake phakathi isingeniso se-IP esiqukethe imithetho, imigomo,  imibandela kanye nezinye izimfihlo zokuhweba. Ukuqwashiswa kubalulekile kakhulu ezindaweni ezifana njengama Nyuvesi nokulapho ucwaningo lukhiqizwa khona nsukuzonke noluqukethe konke okuyinzuzo.

UBarnett, ongusekela-mongameli kwa-SARIMA, ucobelele ngobunikazi be-IP, kanye nezibopho zomcwaningi ngaphansi komthetho obizwa phecelezi- Intellectual Property Rights Act.  Unxenxe kakhulu abacwaningi ukuba basondele kwihhovisi lezobuchwepheshe uma benezinsolo zemikhakha kanye nemisebenzi ehambisana noma ehlobene ne-IP.

uTracey Samuel onguMmeli we-IP ozinze e-UKZN InQubate, ubalule kafushane  ngemigomo ye-IP e-UKZN nokumanje ingaphansi kobuyekezo. Njengamanje, amaphesenti angama-40 ayinzuzo e-IP aya kubantu, amaphesenti angama-40 aya kwi-Nyuvesi kanye namaphesenti angama-20 aya kwi-UKZN Innovation.  Lolu hlaka luyabuyekezwa njengoba i-UKZN Innovation seyathatha indawo ye-UKZN InQubate.

Ngale kokuzibophezela ngezinombolo eziqonde-ngqo, ubalulile ukuthi ukufakwa kwesicelo kuzofaka phakathi lokhu okuyinzuzo kubasunguli. Ukhuthaze abacwaningi ukuba bathintane namahhovisi abo ukuxoxisana ngocwaningo abalenzayo oluqukethe i-IP evikelekile kanye neminye imibuzo abangaba nayo.

UDkt Anette Mienie, onguMqondisi kwezocwaningo e-MUT, uthe umgomo wenyuvesi ubanzi kakhulu ufaka phakathi abantu abanezinkontileka, abasebenzi abayitoho kanye nabo bonke abafundi. Uchaze ukuthi ukucobelelana  okuyinzuzo e-MUT kusebenza kwisikali nokho esintengayo. UNksz Ramika Bansi onguMphathi we-IP e-DUT, ubeke wathi umgomo wabo wenyuvesi usabuyekezwa. Ubeke wathi inzuzo yokucobelelana eDUT ibonakala ihlukana ku 60:40 phakathi kwabasunguli kanye neNyuvesi. Inkuthazokusebenza iphinde yahlinzeka ngezeluleko eziyimithetho emisha endimeni yezocwaningo.

Oka-Barnett uchaze wathi: “ukuhlolwa kwemithetho kungakunikeza ulwazi oluningi nolungatholakali ezincwadini – kulowo owenza umsebenzi emkhakheni wakho kanye nezisombululo ezingaba khona. Kungaphinde futhi kukunikeze izinkomba zokuthi usebenzise umthetho noma cha.

i-database yamahhala efaka phakathi  i- kanye zihlonzwe njengalezo eziwusizo kakhulu. Abacwaningi base-UKZN bayakhuthazwa ukuthi bathintane ne-UKZN InQubate ukuqinisekisa ukuthi i-IP yenziwa ngendlela enobulungiswa. 

Click here for English version

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UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health (CRH) recently presented preliminary findings on its on-going Nompilo Research Project being conducted in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ugu District.

Building on the existing Framework for Community-based Maternal, New-born, Child and Women’s Health (MNCWH) and neonatal interventions overseen by the National Department of Health, the CRH adapted the World Health Organization’s training materials for Community Case Management (CCM) and included an HIV component for the training of community caregivers (CCGs) to see whether they would reach the aims of the Nompilo Project.

Through this project, the Centre is investigating whether HIV-adapted CCM training for community care givers, supported with a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) methodology, could improve the uptake of maternal and new-born services at clinics and improve household practices. This includes the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

The project coincides with the sister 20,000+ Project which is named after the number of HIV infections from mother to infant that could be prevented each year in KwaZulu-Natal if every mother received care according to the national PMTCT guidelines. The plus of this project, also conducted in the Ugu District, signifies additional children who could be helped if recommended infant feeding practices could be optimised in the communities.

The 20,000+ Project aims to decrease mother-to-child- transmission of HIV to five percent in line with the National Strategic Plan target and according to the researchers, these efforts would avoid postnatal transmission of HIV through breastfeeding while still promoting child survival by avoiding deaths caused by diseases such as diarrhoea and malnutrition due to unsafe infant feeding practices.

In the Nompilo Project, care givers visit pregnant woman regularly to encourage early antenatal care attendance, advise them about infant feeding, encourage HIV testing and PMTCT, discuss home care during pregnancy, identify danger signs in pregnancy, and continue to visit the new mother and infant to monitor their health and well-being.

The CRH reported on a public health evaluation they conducted following a cluster randomised trial with 60 care givers and 15 supervisors per control and intervention group in the health district. In addition to the DoH’s C-Framework training received by the control group, the intervention group received further training to care for new-borns at home as well as sick children. Their supervisors and three back-up care givers were mentored and supervised for quality improvements in patient care

Findings reflected that although the care givers in both groups had similar knowledge and training at the baseline of the study, after the initial CRH training, the difference in the knowledge score of intervention and control care givers increased. The CRH team said that after four months, intervention care givers continued to have a higher knowledge score than control care givers, although both intervention and control care givers were still likely to visit pregnant women and households with sick children.

The final post-intervention survey will start in November 2013 and it is envisaged that the project will draw to an end in March 2014.

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The College of Health Sciences was recently presented with a framed picture from Africa Health Placements (AHP) in recognition of the University’s increased focus on rural health in KwaZulu-Natal.

AHP is a placement agency which supports the recruitment and retention of health care professionals, particularly in rural areas. The organisation was established in 2005 with the aim of increasing the number of health professionals in rural areas.

Research at the time showed that out of about 1 200 medical graduates produced by medical schools in South Africa, only an estimated 35 ended up working in rural areas in the public sector.

Currently, AHP places more than 400 local and foreign qualified health care professionals - mostly doctors - in rural hospitals with about 1 800 being placed since its inception.

The Centre for Rural Health’s previous Director, Professor Steve Reid, was instrumental in setting up AHP in partnership with the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa and the Rural Health Initiative.

The AHP’s vision of building a competent and committed workforce in rural areas is in line with the aspirations of UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health which is to strengthen the capacity of rural health care services to ultimately improve the health of rural communities. This they view as being critical to solving the massive public health issues in South Africa.

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The 41st annual Conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA) - hosted at UKZN by the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy - proved to be a resounding success.

Held on the Westville campus, the Conference was attended by local and international experts in the fields of clinical anatomy, microanatomy, cell biology, forensic osteology, human biology, population studies and anatomy education. 

The Conference incorporated two symposia, one on Clinically Applied Neuroanatomy and another on Forensic Anatomy of the Child, as well as a full two-and-a-half day academic programme which showcased research from which selected papers will be included in the journal, Clinical Anatomy, later this year. 

Professor Mohamed Haffajee, Chair of the Local Organising Committee, said the annual eponymous Thompson-Stibbe Lecture delivered  by renowned UKZN geologist, Professor Mike Watkeys, on anatomical antecedents – a journey into the geological origins of life on earth, and all the antecedents of current and extinct species, “including our own” – set the tone for a stimulating conference. 

Delegates listened to an array of topical issues, including poster presentations, which highlighted the need to strengthen research endeavours across institutions and encouraged postgraduate students to nurture their talents in academia. 

Legislation and ethics governing the use of human tissue for teaching and research was one of the topics deliberated in a plenary session chaired by the Anatomy Discipline’s Professor Kapil Satyapal and addressed by Professor David McQuoid-Mason, UKZN’s Emeritus Professor of Law. 

A unanimous decision was reached that cadaverous dissection cannot be substituted by any new technology although they were all adjuncts to the universally accepted way of studying anatomy. 

Delegates agreed that every effort should be made by the institutions affected, together with society and the relevant professional bodies, to engage at the highest level with national and provincial authorities to facilitate getting cadavers and tissues for training and research. 

A team from the University of Pretoria presented a study in which they assessed variability in the obstetric dimensions of the pelvis in South Africans. They identified the need to determine the extent to which population group or height were associated with pelvic shape and size favoured vaginal delivery, saying that cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) was common among Africans and was a major cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity as diameters of the inlet, outlet and midpelvis were implicated in CPD and could vary among populations and with stature. 

The study found that pelvic shape and size, implicated in parturition, differed significantly between populations, with Whites being less affected. The recommendations lobbied for stature to be considered when delivery was planned for African patients. 

“Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of us all” – was the title of a stimulating presentation delivered by Dr Lester Davids, a molecular cell biologist at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Human Biology, who raised awareness on the biology of skin lightening. 

Davids said Africa had a long history of using skin lighteners, which could result in the condition known as hypermelanosis and/or chronic ochronosis. The condition is caused by the use of high concentrations of hydroquinone-based creams which were usually sold with no dermatological control and could only be treated with skin graft surgery. ‘The consequences are often physical disfigurement associated with serious psychological stress,’ he said, adding that more rigorous policy on the use of skin lighteners was needed in Africa and abroad. 

Ms Sundika Ishwarkumar, a UKZN student, presented a study which confirmed that it may be possible to predict age and sex using the clavicle – the collarbone which forms the anterior portion of the shoulder girdle. She reported that the mean maximum length, mid-shaft circumference and maximum breadth of the sternal and acromial ends of male clavicles were greater than those of females. It was found that the mean medial curve of the right and left clavicle was greater in females than in males. 

Professor William Daniels, Dean and Head of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, said he was impressed by the number of postgraduate students who presented their research at the Conference. He said the Conference had a good variety of topics covering both scientific and clinical research, and he liked how institutions had embraced the use of modern technology for research, teaching and learning. 

Dr Onyemaechi Azu, Plastination expert and Clinical Anatomy Head at UKZN, agreed with Daniels, saying: ‘Anatomical resource derivation and utilisation have been a global challenge specifically with regard to the acquisition and use of cadaveric materials. Southern Africa is not left out of this conundrum, but should adopt the approaches embarked upon by other tertiary institutions in developing alternative modalities such as the use of plastinated prosections as well as other high-end e-modalities.’

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Learners who attended the Law as a Career Day student recruitment initiative on the Howard College campus recently left with a clear picture of the numerous possibilities a law degree offers.

The event, hosted by the School of Law, aimed to bring key stakeholders – learners, parents, educators and University officials – together at one venue to engage on the academic offerings at UKZN with specific emphasis on the discipline of law.

Talks by UKZN’s Director of University Relations and Marketing, Mr Len Mzimela; a Lecturer in the School of Law, Mr Vishal Surbun; and an Academic Administration Officer, Mr Sthembiso Khanyeza, provided a holistic insight into a career in law and other scholarly activities at UKZN. 

Surbun’s presentation revolved around the benefits of acquiring a law degree, its versatility, the admissions criteria and the School of Law’s rich history.

‘Law is not just for lawyers. It’s a diverse discipline offering studies in different areas of law. Law can be described as a great tree with many branches, a discipline you won’t get bored with,’ said Surbun.

He told the audience that getting a law degree made it possible to enter the traditional fields of law and become a practising attorney or advocate or a judge in time. However, he said the versatility of the degree also enabled individuals with a law degree to become legal advisors within the corporate sector, public sector and other fields.

‘Any field of human endeavour has rules and follows laws, therefore lawyers are needed in different fields. The law and lawyers will follow humanity wherever they go, therefore law is just not for lawyers.’

Mzimela informed guests of the innovative research successes of UKZN; the supportive environment the University offered students; the important international collaborative initiatives UKZN shared with Higher Education Institutions abroad and the scholarships which rewarded academic excellence achieved by students.

Mzimela indicated that student counselling support services were available, not to students experiencing difficulties only, but also to new students who wanted to hone their skills, such as study techniques and time management.

International student exchange and study abroad programmes offered to UKZN students prepared them, he said, to function at a global level and learn about how the rest of the world existed.

Learners who attended the presentation found it enlightening and informative. Students appreciated an in-depth presentation dedicated to one discipline (law), instead of a presentation that discussed a series of disciplines.

Ms Nontando Tusi, a Danville Park Girls’ High Grade 12 learner, described the presentation as ‘highly informative’.  She said listening in to the presentation made her realise the difference between getting information on academic programmes from the website and first-hand information from a person.

‘I have been passionate about the law profession from a young age. There’s a purpose behind law. I also love a good argument and a career in law will allow this,’ added Tusi.

Ms Mishayla Kercival, also of Danville Park Girls and a member of her school’s debating team, said: ‘The talk was friendly, informative and I enjoyed the freedom to ask questions. Other careers talks I attended have been general. A law-specific presentation was good.’

Ms Dannah-Grace Suter of Maris Stella found the information presented to be helpful and had given her a lot to think about. ‘I’m fairly certain I want to study law because it will allow me to make a difference. Law impacts the way our society is run.’

Ms Ruy Mannarui of Westville Girls’ High School said she attended the presentation because of her interest in environmental law. She found it both “enjoyable and informative”.

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A workshop for School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) PhD students was held over three weeks on the Howard College campus recently.

It was facilitated by Professor Dianne Scott, Honorary Research Fellow in Development Studies within BEDS.

‘The purpose of the workshop was to prepare and support PhD students across the School in writing their proposals; to provide an opportunity for PhD students to discuss their work together; and to facilitate an integrating mechanism to encourage dialogue across the disciplines in the School at a post-graduate level,’ explained Scott.

All PhD students in the School whether in the phase of writing up proposals or in the data collection and write-up stage, were encouraged to participate. 

PhD students from as far afield as Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Johannesburg attended the intensive programme as well as current students from the disciplines of Development Studies, Population Studies and Planning.

Students were asked to read and reflect on material provided for discussion in the workshop and also presented their topics and research questions to staff and fellow students in a day-long “mini-conference”.

‘Current PhD students nearing completion and scholars from the School who have just completed their PhDs also contributed to the workshop by sharing their experiences of the PhD research process,’ said Scott.

‘Short introductory sessions on the EndNote bibliographic programme, INvivo (a qualitative analysis tool) and STATA (a quantitative analysis tool), were included.’ 

The workshop was funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Chair in Economic Development held by Professor Dori Posel.

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A UKZN PhD graduate who received specialised training in Research Ethics at UKZN has been appointed Director of the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe (MRCZ).

He is Dr Paul Ndebele, who attained his BSc Honoours degree in Sociology and his MSc in Population Studies from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Ndebele received specialised training in Research Ethics at John Hopkins University in the United States through the NIH/Fogarty African Bioethics Programme (FABTP) and at UKZN (Pmb) through the NIH/Fogarty SARETI Programme. He completed his PhD in 2011 in the School of Applied Human Sciences (Pmb) with a focus on informed consent in clinical trials.

He has been a visiting scholar at various academic institutions including Padova University, in Italy and Ethox Centre at Oxford University in England.

Ndebele previously worked for the MRCZ as the Liaison Officer/Head of Secretariat from 1999 to 2005. He later took up a dual appointment from 2005 to 2008 as a visiting Professor at Michigan State University and Deputy Director for the Centre for Bioethics at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi.

In 2008, he joined the University of Botswana where he served as Assistant Director for Research Ethics in the Office of Research and Development. During his time in Botswana, he also served as a member of the National Research Ethics Committee (HRDC) in the Botswana Ministry of Health.

He joins the MRCZ from the Division of AIDS (DAIDS), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in USA, where he was serving as a Contractor Bioethicist at the Henry Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. 

In his role as a Bioethicist, Ndebele’s main role was to provide specialist advice and support on DAIDS-funded studies on matters pertaining to the well-being of research participants. In this role, he provided guidance on various HIV/AIDS and TB studies conducted in various countries.

Ndebele’s main function will be to strengthen the role of the MRCZ in promoting and co-ordinating health research in the country. He will participate actively in initiatives aimed at strengthening the MRCZ as well as in resource mobilisation and will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in ensuring that the MRCZ executes its mandate more effectively.

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A hockey player and coach on the move is 24-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal marketing and media student, Mr Sihle Ntuli.

Ntuli piloted the KwaZulu-Natal Inland Under-21 team to sixth place at the recent South African National Championships at Queensmead Hockey Stadium in Durban – an improvement of five places on last year.

 'My goal as a player is to get into the South African senior side and I hope to make a breakthrough at the next opportunity,’ said the Thomas More College product who was chosen as a 19-year-old for the SA U21 side which played Pakistan in Durban.

A desire to pursue his studies brought Ntuli from Durban to Pietermaritzburg where he was third-top goalscorer at the 2012 SA Seniors in his debut season for KwaZulu-Natal Inland.

‘I started playing hockey aged seven as it was very similar tactically to football, a sport I really enjoy, and it is also an exceptionally skillful game that always poses challenges no matter how long you have been playing.’

He is also very ambitious as a coach, holding a prestigious South African National Level Two coaching qualification. ‘What I love about coaching is the satisfaction of seeing the growth in the players and teams I work with.’

The man with a natural affinity for goal scoring, who has played striker throughout his short career, now turns out for the UKZN Pietermaritzburg first team and coaches the UKZN Women’s side. 

A non-travelling reserve for the SA U21 team that played at the 2007 Junior World Cup in Malaysia and Singapore, Ntuli coached the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Raiders U18 girls’ team and the Raiders U18 boys’ team during the 2010/2011 seasons and his passion for the game sets the perfect platform for a long and distinguished career both on the field and on the sidelines.

This article originally appeared on the FIH website and was written by Jonathan Cook.

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