SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE REACHES OUT TO HIGH SCHOOLS

SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE REACHES OUT TO HIGH SCHOOLS

South Africa, more than ever, is in dire need of young people skilled in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology.  A recent employment survey indicates that there are as many as 829 800 unfilled positions in high-skilled occupations in the country.  According to the White Paper on Science and Technology, Science is one of the major contributors to wealth creation and improvement of the quality of life. 

Cognizant of the above-mentioned facts and the importance of inculcating a passion for Maths and Science amongst our youth, the Faculty of Science and Agriculture has implemented several initiatives to reach high school learners.  Thirteen of UKZN’s top performing feeder schools in KwaZulu-Natal were identified and trophies, sponsored by the Faculty, were presented at each school.  The UKZN Faculty of Science and Agriculture Award recognises outstanding results in Maths and Science and is awarded to the top Grade 12 achiever in each school, based on his or her Grade 11 results. 

Brainchild of Science and Agriculture’s Dean’s Assistant for Recruitment, Dr Naven Chetty, the sponsored awards have received a favourable response from schools and learners.  They have generated great interest in Science and Agriculture and have helped to place UKZN at the forefront of learners’ minds.   Chetty said: ‘Our aim is two-fold: to recognise the hard work that goes into top achievement and to identify and attract to UKZN, potential students who have an aptitude and a love for disciplines in Maths and Science.’  It is envisaged that the trophies will be presented on an annual basis, with a view to increasing the number of targeted schools. 

Science and Agriculture have also embarked on a number of information-sharing presentations at local high schools.  Designed to assist learners with their future career choices and study plans, the presentations detail the full scope of options available in the sciences.  Question and answer sessions form an integral part of the interactions which help to clarify and allay concerns.  For many learners, it is an eye-opening experience:  ‘I never knew UKZN had so much to offer or that so many research projects were going on … what is more, it is right here on our doorstep,’ said Grade 12 learner from the Wykeham Collegiate, Ms Nondumiso Kumalo. 
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

UNITE POWER BREAKFAST HITS THE SPOT

UNITE POWER BREAKFAST HITS THE SPOT

Promoting collegiality and providing food for the body and mind was the aim of the UNITE Programme’s inaugural Power Breakfast for UKZN Engineering colleagues and friends.  Held recently at the Innovation Centre on the Howard College campus, the event featured multi-award winning broadcaster, columnist and media analyst, Mr Daryl Ilbury.

Ilbury, of East Coast Radio fame, entertained the early morning breakfasters with a speech titled, “How radio broadcasting and engineering is being shaped dramatically not by technology, but by something … that defines us as human beings”. 

Nominee for a PICA Award for Best Columnist, Ilbury started his talk by reminiscing about his days as a young arts student in the 1980s.  Based on the Howard College campus at the former University of Natal, Ilbury claimed he was always rather jealous of the engineers, with whom he often interacted.  They displayed great camaraderie and seemed to have all the answers to life’s problems.  He explained how he was first introduced to the world of radio by Deputy Director of the UNITE Programme, Mr Rudi Kimmie, who encouraged him to get involved in Dome Music Radio, the campus radio station. ‘As soon as I flipped the mike switch, I knew it was for me,’ said Ilbury. 

By the time Ilbury left the University in 1986, Dome Music Radio was the most profitable radio station in the country.  From here, Ilbury joined commercial radio and his career blossomed.  Ilbury proceeded to tell the audience about some of the technological changes and innovations in the radio broadcasting industry over the years.  He explained that in the past, radio listeners were passive consumers; the power was in the hands of the radio stations because they ultimately controlled the content.  However, the introduction of the ipod brought about a profound change, as did the smart phone, which Ilbury described as the ‘technical coup de grâce for radio.’  These items put radio into the hands of the consumers who demand ‘immediate recognition and respect for their demands and opinions, as well as more intimate contact with their preferred station,’ said Ilbury. 

According to Ilbury, social networking is changing radio at a rapid pace.  Listeners are creating and disseminating their own content and radio stations need to reach out and connect with people.  ‘Radio will have to dig deep to come up with a greater ethos … radio stations will have to become social networking hubs,’ said Ilbury.  In addition, radio will be forced to re-evaluate its cost structures and look to non-traditional ways to generate and maintain revenue.author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

UJABULELA ITHUBA LOKWETHULA UCWANINGO LWAKHE EMELIKA

UJABULELA ITHUBA LOKWETHULA UCWANINGO LWAKHE EMELIKA

Umfundi waseNyuvezi yaKwaZulu-Natali, uNksz Ruth Kelia Castel-Branco, oqhuba izifundo zeMasters kwiSchool of Development Studies (kwezentuthuko), ujabulela ithuba alitholile, lapho ezoya kokwethula ucwaningo lwakhe kwinkomfa yazwelonke i“Labor in the Global South: A Search for Solutions” ezobe ise-University of California eLos Angeles, eMelika.

 

Ucwango lwaCastel-Branco olubizwa ngokuthi, “Legislating worker Justice? The role of the South African state in formalising and strengthening workers' rights for domestic workers” luhlaziya izinkinga ezikhungethe abasebenzi basemakhaya eNingiziu Afrika.

UCastel-Branco uzimisele ukucwaninga ngenqubo yomthetho omusha ozolwela impatho namalungelo abasebenzi basemakhaya eNingizimu Afrika. Ubheke ngabomvu ingqungquthela yesibili ezobanjwa yi-International Labor Office’s (ILO) ngoNhlangula, i”Decent Work for Domestic Workers”. Le ngqungquthela ihlose ukusungula imithetho yazwelonke ezomela abasebenzi basemakhaya.

UCastel-Branco uthe ulangazelele ukuhlangana nabanye abancwaningi abenza umsebenzi ofana nowakhe eMelika. ‘Ngizimisele kakhulu ukuhlangana nezikhulumi eziqavile kulenkomfa, uGay Seidman kanye noRhacel Salazar Parrenas, abayizifundiswa esezinolwazi olubanzi ocwaningweni lwami,’ kusho uCastel-Branco. Uthe, ‘Nginesiqiniseko sokuthi ngizofunda lukhulu kulolu hambo’.


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author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN ACADEMIC PRESENTS ON LANGUAGE POLICY AT US CONFERENCE

UKZN ACADEMIC PRESENTS ON LANGUAGE POLICY AT US CONFERENCE

Dr Dianna Moodley, lecturer in the Faculty of Management Studies Education Unit, recently participated in the 14th Annual Conference of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) in Wisconsin, USA. The Conference focused on building language capacity, and exploring and discovering how innovative and collaborative efforts can strengthen and equip academics to better empower their communities in the learning and cultural awareness of less commonly taught languages.

Moodley's presentation provided an overview of the attitudes of students and staff at UKZN, regarding the University's bi/multilingualism policy for education. She argued that attitudes towards language are the key factor in determining the success of any language policy.  Dr Moodley is supportive of the policy and reminded the audience that the issue of language use in education in South Africa is directly tied to our history.  Transformation is linked closely to language use and the development of indigenous languages for a variety of purposes. However, enforced implementation of a policy which does not have the support and understanding of the constituents is futile and potentially dangerous. Moodley’s presentation ended with a strong call for interventions which could address the disjuncture between policy and practice in South African Higher Education.  


author email : moodleydi@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN REPRESENTED AT COMMONWEALTH FORUM

UKZN REPRESENTED AT COMMONWEALTH FORUM

Professor P S Reddy of UKZN’s School of Public Administration and Development Management attended the 2011 Conference of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum held in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

The Conference theme was “Energising Local Economies: Partnerships for Prosperous Communities”. The Conference was attended by 500 representatives of ministries of local government, local government associations, NGOs, academic/research organisations, development partners and the private sector from 51 countries. 

The Cardiff Consensus, inter alia, reaffirmed the commitment to the principles set out in the Aberdeen Agenda, i.e. good practice in local democracy and good governance; recognised the importance of effective decentralisation in line with the Aberdeen principles as a critical foundation for effective local economic development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and emphasised the important role of local government in effective local economic development.

Professor Reddy participated in the Research Colloquium; co-authored and presented the background discussion paper for the Conference and chaired a working group session on “Integrated and Strategic Planning for LED”. He was re-elected as an Alternate Associate Board member of the CLGF representing universities and research organisations in Commonwealth countries. He also currently serves on the Editorial Board of the e-journal, Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, published in Australia.      


author email : langah@ukzn.ac.za

CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP PROVIDES UKZN RESEARCHER WITH NEW INSIGHTS

CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP PROVIDES UKZN RESEARCHER WITH NEW INSIGHTS

Ms Monique Salomon, a researcher in the School of Environmental Sciences, recently had the opportunity to find out more about the new and growing science of resilience, innovation and sustainability. She attended the Resilience 2011 Conference and participated in the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars (RAYS) workshop in Arizona, USA. 

The Conference, titled “Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change,” brought together scientists from a broad spectrum of disciplinary backgrounds as well as representatives from government, business and NGOs.  The primary aim was to discuss and address growing concerns about the long-term sustainability of the current global human-environment system.  The Conference was organised around six intellectual themes which sought to integrate knowledge from various perspectives.

Salomon, who has been conducting research on communal rangeland management in the Okhombe region in KwaZulu-Natal, presented a poster at the Conference on “Keeping Cattle in a Changing Rural Landscape.” She explained that the research engages with the debate on people, cattle and the environment.  It was initiated in South Africa to investigate why cattle keepers in Okhombe did not adopt a rotational resting system that had been designed with community members to improve the management of communal cattle grazing. 

Prior to the Conference, approximately 40 RAYS attended a workshop at Arizona’s Camp Tontozona.  Participants came from universities, research institutes and development organisations in the United States, Canada, Alaska, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa.  Salomon, who joined the team “Operationalising Resilience in Communities” said, ‘the aim of the workshop was to bring together an international, multi-disciplinary group of early career researchers to share experience, discuss issues and concepts, and explore research collaboration in the broad field of complexity and resilience.’

Salomon was particularly struck by an example of how climate change is impacting the traditional agricultural system of a local community in northern Italy: for generations cattle keepers have produced the famous Fontina cheese which is now under threat.  Due to the increase in average temperature and decrease in rainfall in the area, the flower and grass species are changing.  This results in a decrease in the fat content of the milk which in turn affects the level of fat in the Fontina cheese, resulting in it being below the EU prescribed levels.  The cheese now has to be sold as Alpine cheese, which retails for much less than F
author email : crookesv@ukan.ac.za

CORRECTIONAL SERVICES MOOTS PARTNERSHIP WITH UKZN

CORRECTIONAL SERVICES MOOTS PARTNERSHIP WITH UKZN

The South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has proposed a partnership with UKZN’s School of Sociology and Social Studies, particularly Criminology postgraduate students and lecturers.

Five members of the DCS met with Criminology staff and students on May 12. The DCS is proposing that postgraduate students in Criminology, Psychology, Social Work and other relevant degrees assist in the assessment of offenders in correctional centres in Durban and surrounding areas.

The proposal is based on the DCS’s understanding that communities, and society as a whole, have a responsibility to contribute towards the rehabilitation of offenders. Universities groom and house skilled professionals who have the necessary knowledge and qualifications to be of great help to DCS in offender assessments, and in much-needed research.

The partnership will also benefit students in that they will gain work and research experience.  DCS and Correctional Centres will benefit by having access to additional person power and professional skills. 

Society and communities can also benefit through decreases in repeat offending due to better rehabilitation, reconciliation and restoration of offenders.

The DCS has already signed Memoranda of Understanding with the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa. Students and staff from these universities are working with the DCS.  

DCS officials, Mr Monacks, Director for Risk Profile Management, and Mr Sihlangu, Offender Profiling, gave presentations on Risk Profile Management, Correctional Programmes, Community Liaison and the Learnership Project; all of which are centre on overall offender rehabilitation.

Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh, Criminology Academic Co-ordinator and Head of Department, set out UKZN’s expectations and helped facilitate the interactive meeting.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music was graced with the presence of renowned South African jazz artist and UKZN alumnus, Mr Mfana Mlambo on May 11. The composer and tenor saxophonist entertained a capacity audience of music lovers, students and lecturers during the weekly Wednesday Evening Concert.   

Mlambo owns Sintu Productions, which draws up business plans for musicians and cultural workers. The company has promoted the work of world-renowned South Africa musical artists like the late Busi Mhlongo, Sibongile Khumalo  and Sankomota.  He also developed the concept of Jubes, the core Durban Jazz club at Jubilee Hall on the Howard College campus.

Mlambo performed with a band comprised of Music Lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves; former student Mr Sbu Zondi on drums, and Mr Bernard Mndaweni on bass guitar, with UKZN’s Dr Sazi Dlamini playing guitar for some numbers. UKZN alumnus Mr Thulani Shezi featured on piano, and vocalist, Mrs Xolani Dlamini performed two duets with Mlambo.

Mlambo introduced band members by means of stories from their youth and their musical encounters. He shared his life experiences with the audience and encouraged musicians and students to keep their passion alive and be willing to sacrifice for music.


author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za