TEACHING AND LEARNING CONFERENCE A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

TEACHING AND LEARNING CONFERENCE A RESOUNDING SUCCESS The 2010 annual Teaching and Learning Conference hosted by UKZN’s University Teaching and Learning Office (UTLO) took place on the Pietermaritzburg campus from September 20-22.  The stimulating three-day conference with the theme: Diversity, Transformation and the Student Experience in Higher Education and Learning brought together 300 academics from among others, the USA, UK, Sweden, Israel, Iran, Swaziland, Kenya and Rwanda. The three plenary sessions by invited keynote presenters provided rich insights into the student learning experience; the importance of indigenous languages in teaching and learning; and the provision of an integrated curriculum which ensured the disabled were not excluded from a quality tertiary education.

Mr John Pampallis, Special Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education and Training, who delivered a message on behalf of the Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande drew attention to the numerous competing challenges facing universities in South Africa. He commended UKZN for the progress it had made by bringing teaching and learning into the spotlight.

Victor Borden, a Professor in Higher Education at Indiana University, USA, delivered the keynote address on the theme: Accountability for Student Learning: Views from the Inside Out and Outside In. Professor Borden presented a framework for understanding and dealing effectively with the paradoxical relationship between external accountability expectations and internal quality improvement initiatives.  He argued that “accountability pressures often undermine internal improvement efforts because of fundamental differences between the ‘outside in’ perspectives of policy makers and the ‘inside out’ perspective of academic staff”.

In his keynote address, Dr Siva Moodley, the Director of the Department for Students with Disabilities at UNISA addressed the theme: Promoting an Inclusive Curriculum: A shared Responsibility. Dr Moodley made a compelling argument for an inclusive ethos and approach to education which ensures that students with disabilities are able to participate fully in a curriculum that is flexible enough to enable their participation.

The Language Plenary Panel, a regular feature of the UTLO Teaching and Learning Conference,  featured Dr TM Sengani of UNISA; Fulbright Fellow Ms Morgan Kelly Radford, of Harvard University; and Professor Ayub Sheik from UKZN’s Faculty of Education. Each provided provocative perspectives on the theme: Developing Indigenous Languages for the 21st Century Higher Education Student.

In his opening address, UKZN Vice-Chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, spoke of the Transformation Charter which emerged from the findings of the Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions. He outlined how the Transformation Charter would map out a vision for institutional transformation. Professor Makgoba also highlighted the importance of ethics in teaching and learning. 

“People often think that when we talk of ethics, it pertains to research relating to animals or human beings. The whole notion of teaching and the
author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN ALUMNUS POWERS THE GAUTRAIN

UKZN ALUMNUS POWERS THE GAUTRAIN

The mammoth task of delivering the first phase of Gautrain, South Africa’s largest rail infrastructure project in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup fell to UKZN alumnus Mr Jerome Govender, the CEO of Bombela Concession Company (BCC). Mr Govender acquired his Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying and Masters in Science in Urban and Regional Planning at the former University of Natal in 1994 and 1996, respectively. He later completed an MBA at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Heading a R25 billion project with a workforce of up to 10 000 at peak construction times (during the first phase of the project), Mr Govender said: “I am very proud to have led Bombela through this period. I often say that the initial success of the Gautrain cannot be attributed to any one given person or organisation, but must be attributed to many organisations and hundreds of individuals who over the years contributed to its success. I am very grateful to all of them.

“…this is a very complex project to implement and requires different approaches depending on the situation. Sometimes I have to choose between being like `Ban Ki Boon’ and finding a diplomatic solution and at the other times being `Attila the Hun’ and relentlessly pursuing a result. The challenge is finding the appropriate balance between the two,” he added.

Describing his undergraduate days as consumed by the need to both pass his examinations and enjoy the adrenaline rush of skydiving as a member of the UND Parachute Club, Mr Govender realised early in life that a career in the Built Environment Professions would be an ideal career choice as his family members worked in the field and he knew studying towards quantity surveying would be “fulfilling and one (career) where the result of your labour is ... tangible and real”.

Mr Govender, who was the Managing Director of Murray & Roberts Concessions before his appointment to CEO at BCC in 2007, believes leaders should aspire to: honesty; being forward thinking; the ability to listen and learn; competence; and the courage to make tough but necessary decisions – characteristics that have led to his own success.

Considering his contribution in establishing South Africa’s first Construction Industry Development Board from 1999 to 2002, as another major career coup, Mr Govender  was among the optimists who felt that South Africa’s spend on infrastructural development in the run
author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

STUDENTS SCOOP FIRST AND THIRD PLACE IN THE 2010 CUBE COMPETITION

STUDENTS SCOOP FIRST AND THIRD PLACE IN THE 2010 CUBE COMPETITIONTwo final year Civil Engineering students did UKZN proud when they took first and third place in the 2010 Concrete Society of Southern Africa (CSSA) Durban Branch Concrete Cube Competition, sponsored by NPC Cimpor, beating students from the two other universities in the city.

Mr Herman De Lange took first place and won himself R1 500 and a certificate. He said that he was excited and could not believe it when he got the call that he had won. Mr Matthew Murphy who won R500 and a certificate for his third place added that winning puts UKZN in a good light. 

Contestants were required to make two concrete cubes which are then crushed to test their strength. The students were given a free choice of materials as long as the main binder was Portland Cement. The students said that the cubes took them about 30 minutes maximum to make utilising knowledge gained from lectures and self study. After 24 hours in standard conditions the moulds were stripped and the cubes  were sent off to the prescribed testing laboratory.

The students used the basic ingredients, sand, cement, stone, water and Silica Fume (extender). They added that they also used a super plastisizer to make the concrete more fluid so that less water is needed in the mixture. Mr Murphy said that the trick is to get the water and cement ratio correct, so that one uses as little water and as much cement as possible as this ratio determines the strength of the concrete. The company testing the cubes keeps them for seven days in standard conditions under water.

Mr De Lange, who also entered last year, said that the competition was a fun thing to do outside of lectures. Nine UKZN students entered the competition. 


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN PROFESSOR JOINS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT WORLD EXPERTS

UKZN PROFESSOR JOINS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT WORLD EXPERTS Director of the African Centre for Crop Improvement, Professor Mark Laing, attended the first ever African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra, Ghana at the beginning of September.  A collaborative effort of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Yara International, Nepad and Standard Bank, this new initiative “seeks to catalyse investment and increased co-operation to drive development of African agriculture.” 

The conference brought together African government leaders, global enterprises, development agencies and other agricultural development specialists.  It was opened by Mr Kofi Annan, past Secretary General of the United Nations and the current chairperson of the Board of AGRA.  Other key speakers included Dr Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Dr Gary Toennissen, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.  Also participating were three African laureates of the World Food Prize: Dr Monty Jones (rice breeder); Professor Gebisa Ejeta (sorghum breeder); and Dr Florence Wambugu (genetic engineer). 

The impact of climate change on agriculture in Africa featured as a major topic at the conference. Environmental change is taking place much faster than the capacity of millions of small scale farmers to adapt, using their current crops and technologies.  Active intervention is critical, based on predicted changes, derived from climate models.  Notably, Africa has only accessed 2 percent of the $160 billion carbon exchange global market, so it represents a massive opportunity to enhance the income of African farmers, small and big, if the appropriate infrastructure is established.

According to Professor Laing, “The key roles of breeding and distributing seeds of better cultivars of food security to Africa’s farmers remain central to the goal of an African Green Revolution, and provide an ongoing role for UKZN Centres such as the African Centre for Crop Improvement which is training 80 plant breeders at the PhD level from 13 countries in Africa.”

AGRF Executive Co-Producers thanked Professor Laing for his participation at this milestone event and said, “We were honoured by your presence, and inspired by your commitment to fuel the public-private partnerships that are needed to change the fortunes for millions of African farmers.” 

Mr Annan was recognised at the conference for his international leadership in the area of global food security and was awarded the World Food Prize Foundation’s Norman E. Borlaug Medallion.  In his closing remarks, Mr Annan said:  “This week I saw something I have never seen before.  The bankers for Africa were in attendance. 

The CEOs of Africa were in attendance…I saw scientists this week who are at the forefront of developing African’s own solutions to unlock agricultural productivity.”  He urged all stakeholders to move forward together to realise the dream of achieving a green revolution for Africa.  “With our hands on the plow, we will till this beautiful land’s soil together, and help Africa reap a bountiful harvest,” said Mr Annan.  


author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

QUANTUM RESEARCH GROUP HOLDS ITS FIRST QUANTUM AFRICA CONFERENCE

QUANTUM RESEARCH GROUP HOLDS ITS FIRST QUANTUM AFRICA CONFERENCE
They recently made headlines in the media when, in a world first, they secured a fibre optical link to the Moses Mabhida Stadium during the 2010 World Cup. From 20-23 September UKZN’s Quantum Research Group hosted the first of its Quantum Africa conferences in Durban, which attracted scientists from all over the world.

Professor Sir Peter Knight, Deputy Rector (Research) at Imperial College, London presented his paper on Quantum State Engineering and the simulation of Nature. He said that the aim of the Conference is to try and work out ways that developments in quantum physics could be employed in new technology. Another aim is to bring the community in Africa together with people around the world.
 
Professor Sir Knight added that Durban has world-class facilities and this Conference showed the effectiveness of research at UKZN. He first visited South Africa in 2006 and he and other international participants were impressed by the University.

During the FIFA World Cup physicists from the Quantum Research Group of UKZN, headed by Professor Francesco Petruccione secured a fibre optical link to the Moses Mabhida Stadium with the help of quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography uses quantum effects to secure the exchange of information. Professor Sir Knight added that this is the most important application of Quantum cryptography. “There are projects underway in Europe, Singapore and the United States but the group here did a world first by securing communication for the World Cup which could not be hacked.

“This was fabulous and it demonstrated the power of applying stuff in the new technology. The vision the UKZN group has is great science, but it was a wonderful piece of public spirited activity,” he added.

According to Professor Petruccione, Quantum Technology is a new field of science and engineering that exploits the peculiar features of quantum mechanics – Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle, the Superposition Principle and Entanglement – to dramatically improve the way we do computing, communication, cryptography, metrology, sensing and imaging.

One of the new projects that the Quantum Group is embarking on is to look at how quantum effects might be employed in nature. This will look closely at how plants capture sunlight in photosynthesis and how they may have exploited some of these effects, and how the Quantum Group can optimise it.


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

Hermann Ohlthaver Trust visits the Centre for Science Access

Hermann Ohlthaver Trust visits the Centre for Science Access

Mr Allan Appel, Chairman of the Hermann Ohlthaver Trust, visited the Faculty of Science and Agriculture’s Centre for Science Access (CSA) on the Pietermaritzburg campus recently.  A long-time supporter of the CSA, the Trust has given the programme a grant of R220 000 for 2010, which has funded tuition and accommodation for 14 students on the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses. 

 

The Hermann Ohlthaver Trust is a charitable organisation which supports a range of institutions and community-based organisations in South Africa and Namibia.  According to Mr Appel, the Trust dedicates a significant amount of its funding to programmes which focus on maths and science.  He said the trustees feel it is an area in South Africa that is in dire need of support.

 

Head of the CSA, Professor Neil Koorbanally, is grateful to the Trust for their continued support.  “The Hermann Ohlthaver Trust is ideal for students in the Science Access programme as all our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds where the family income is not enough to send their children to University.  Thanks to donors like the Hermann Ohlthaver Trust, their children’s dreams are realised,” said Professor koorbanally.

 

During his visit, Mr Appel had the opportunity to view some of the chemistry practicals taking place in the laboratories.  He was particularly pleased to be able to meet some of the Chemistry PhD students who started out in the access programme.  “Its great to meet people who are successful,” said Mr Appel.  He also interacted with some of the first-year students who are benefiting from the funding provided by the Hermann Ohlthaver Trust.  In addition, Mr Appel spoke to some of the CSA lecturers who attested to the success of the programme and commented on the students’ progress since the beginning of the year. 

The CSA, which operates on the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses, provides opportunities for a generation of South Africans whose education might have ended at secondary school level.  It caters for students from disadvantaged schools who have the potential to succeed, but lack the necessary entry requirements and preparation to gain automatic entry into science-based degrees.  In operation for over 15 years, the programme was the first of its kind on the African continent and has served as a blu
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

CENTENARY EXHIBIT CLAIMS SILVER MEDAL AT GARDEN AND LEISURE SHOW

CENTENARY EXHIBIT CLAIMS SILVER MEDAL AT GARDEN AND LEISURE SHOW UKZN’s Centenary exhibit titled Snapshots of a Century was awarded a Silver Medal at the Garden and Leisure show which is acknowledged as the top landscaping and horticultural event in South Africa.  Assigned to the “Commercial” category, the University received its medal for achieving an overall score of between 70 and 85 percent. 

The exhibit, which is a transferable pictorial display, was brought up especially from the Medical School, where it was being displayed, for the University’s stand at the Garden and Leisure Show in Pietermaritzburg.   With an audience of approximately 24 000 over the three-day period, UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division felt the show would be the ideal platform to showcase the University and its 100 years of successes and achievements. 

Comprising banners with detailed information highlighting the significant events in the history of the five institutions that now make up UKZN, the exhibit is designed to whet the appetite of the viewer and encourage them to read and learn more about the institution’s history. A timeline, centred around a model of the Memorial Tower Building on the Howard College campus, also forms part of the exhibition. 

“The intention is to demonstrate the vision, tenacity, courage and humanity which were the building bricks upon which UKZN rests today,” said Executive Director: Corporate Relations Division Ms Nomonde Mbadi. 

Several groups and individuals were responsible for ‘making the exhibit happen’ at the Show: Mr Mark Horan from UKZN’s School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology; Ms Jenny Stretton from the Durban Art Gallery; and Mr Rob Geddes; Mr David Evans and Mr Andries Chonco and their teams from UKZN’s Facilities Management Division.
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

FACULTY OF EDUCATION HOSTS WORKSHOP ON “THINKING ABOUT SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING”

FACULTY OF EDUCATION HOSTS WORKSHOP ON “THINKING ABOUT SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING” The Faculty of Education’s Research Office on the Edgewood campus is extending its efforts to encourage research output from academics in the Faculty.  On September 17, the office hosted an awareness workshop on scholarly publishing facilitated by Dr Ronelle Carolissen from the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. 

Dr Carolissen is a member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, the Psychological Association of South Africa, the Society for Community Research and Action, and a former member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and currently serves as a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

The workshop was given the theme, Thinking about Scholarly Publishing, and invited academics to get inspired, share ideas, and to identify the importance of scholarly publishing in academia’s competitive world of research output.

“What is interesting is that we exercise writing every day but the monsters in our heads make us shiver when we hear the words ‘publication’, ‘journal’ or ‘scholarly articles’,” said Dr Carolissen.

 

“What motivates you to publish?” This was one of the questions raised in the workshop that got academics talking. Apart from career, disciplinary, personal and social transformation motives, those attending shared what motivates them to publish ranges from sharing research experiences to a sense of belonging to the ‘elite’ publishing group.

“Academic publishing is an incredibly elite group,” said Dr Carolissen. She said that today’s academic publishers still show evidence of racial and gender inequalities. “You can only gain status in your discipline by publishing,” she added.

What surfaced during the discussion was that the easiest part about academic publishing is the writing. The real difficulty is dealing with the jungle of editors and what it is that counts in whatever one writes.

The workshop explored factors such as contexts of researcher productivity; selecting a research project; factors implementing on publication; boosting research productivity; assessing your own professional development needs and the writing process amongst others.

Dr Rosemary Kalenga who lectures in Educational Psychology in the School of Education Studies said that these kinds of workshops give academics that ‘kick’ to get into publication practice apart from their day-to-day meetings and duties.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN WELL REPRESENTED AT OPTOMETRY CONFERENCES

UKZN WELL REPRESENTED AT OPTOMETRY CONFERENCES Students and lecturers from UKZN’s Discipline of Optometry participated in the World Conference on Refractive Error (WCRE) and the World Conference on Optometric Education (WCOE) in Durban which ran consecutively for the first time from September 20-24.

The conferences were attended by 150 international speakers from over 70 countries who came together to discuss the global issues facing the Optometry profession.

Exhibition stands, and oral and poster presentations were presented by international eye care companies and delegates, providing unprecedented networking opportunities.  Some of the most anticipated speakers were UKZN alumnus, Dr Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International who spoke on the opening day, and World Congress on Refractive Error Congress Chair and Sponsorship Management, UKZN’s Professor Kovin Naidoo.

Senior lecturer at UKZN and the Chairperson of the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians in South Africa, Ms Vanessa Moodley who is registered for a doctorate in optometric education presented two papers: Recruitment and Selection: a Theoretical Framework for Optometric Education and Public Sector Optometry in South Africa: A Regulatory Perspective. The papers highlighted the legislative changes that need to occur to support public sector development in Optometry.

Ms Pirindhavellie Govender of UKZN’s Optometry Department also presented two papers: Ocular Manifestations of HIV/AIDS and a co-authored paper titled, Visual Impairment due to Refractive Error in KwaZulu-Natal using Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness Data.

One of the highlights for UKZN Optometry students was conducting eye tests under the auspices of Special Olympics South Africa and the South African Optometric Association (SAOA) on September 22. The SAOA is the professional association for South Africa’s practicing optometrists, dispensing opticians, students and eye care-related professionals. It champions the interests of both optometrists and patients and strives for an eye care dispensation that will best serve their needs.

Ms Moodley also presented a paper for the SAOA programme on Ethics for Private Practice, where practitioners were updated on the latest legislative amendments.

Third year Optometry student, Mr Siyabonga Mpulo said it was quite an experience working the sophisticated equipment with learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. The co-ordinato
author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

FACULTY OF EDUCATION HOSTS GALA DINNER FOR LIMPOPO STUDENTS

FACULTY OF EDUCATION HOSTS GALA DINNER FOR LIMPOPO STUDENTS UKZN’s Faculty of Education hosted a gala dinner on September 17 for students from Limpopo Province who have been accepted to complete the four-year Bachelor of Education degree at the University. 

In 2009 the Limpopo Department of Education and the Faculty of Education signed a Memorandum of Acceptance whereby it was agreed that 100 students from Limpopo Province would enrol for the Faculty’s ECD/Foundation Phase programme specialisation in the BEd Degree.

The gala diner was graced by the MEC for Education in Limpopo Province, Mr Namane Dickson Masemola together with other officials from the office of the MEC and the Limpopo Department of Education (DoE). Friends and family of the students and of the University added to the festive spirit. The purpose of the visit by the Limpopo officials was to acknowledge and monitor the progress made by the students thus far.

The students expressed their gratitude for having been given the opportunity to study at UKZN. They thanked Mr Masemola for making it possible by providing financial sponsorship. 

Twenty four f the students are straight from grade 12 and the rest are teachers in the system at the Limpopo DoE, who have been given study leave by their rural schools. These teachers will not only be upgrading their qualifications but will also be empowering other teachers in Limpopo based on their experiences during their four-year training.

In his keynote address, Mr Masemola said that the aim of his visit was to strengthen the relationship between UKZN, and the Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, and to further the education of Limpopo and the nation at large.

“Like all other nations in the world we cannot fail our people. … Having projects such [as these] permits us to share resources in building and developing a learning nation,” he said. Deputy Dean for Initial Teacher Education, Professor Thabisile Buthelezi agreed that the journey ahead is still a lengthy one, but the partnership is a step in the right direction.

The MEC encouraged the teachers to embrace change in the education system as it develops with technologies such as eLearning and to take the country on a journey of ‘aggressive thinking’ for research, academic excellence and social change. He said that the DoE is working hard to enhance the prestige and status of the teaching profession in South Africa.

Students enrolled in the programme, Ms Pinkie Mphahlele and Mr Kilson Makoala said being accepted at UKZN has been a dream come true and asked for the Province and the University’s continued support. They chuckled about how the support they received from the ‘Zulu’ students overcame any stereotypes they might have had before coming to UKZN. “We are prepared to make our province proud and to achieve our goal of academic excellence,” said Mr Makoala.

Teaching staff from a range of Schools shared aspects of their teaching practice and their research into teaching and learning issues. Co-ordinator of the proceedings, Dr Caroline Goodier from the Education Unit said that the aim of the day was for academics to showcase their teaching and learning research as well as share among themselves their experiences in the classroom. “It is important to make a space like this for academics to talk about teaching and learning.”  She added that there are many people that are doing exciting work and what was showcased on the day was just the tip of the iceberg.

Presentations included information on new technology innovations; a SIFE student presentation; an evaluation of student support in the diverse classroom; building community through social partnerships around further education and training; assessment by means of multiple choice questions; and podcasting. A round table discussion also took place about the place of research in teaching.

Academics shared ideas on different ways to engage students.  These include group work, DVDs, business presentations, linking practical research with theory, multimedia materials and e-learning.

The presentation by Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE), run by students aimed at developing financial understanding among students, showcased the work that students are involved in using theory acquired in the classroom. The UKZN team recently took third place in the national presentations.  The group has 25 projects, six of which were incepted this year.

The day ended with discussion of some of the themes that had emerged and with the suggestion that this sort of event should take place more frequently.


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

RESEARCHING RACE REQUIRES CRITICAL REFLECTION, SAYS RESEARCHER

RESEARCHING RACE REQUIRES CRITICAL REFLECTION, SAYS RESEARCHER The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (CCRRI) at UKZN hosted Doctoral student, Ms Kira Erwin, from the School of Sociology who presented a paper on Theory and practice in the field of race and race thinking: Critical reflections from, and for, South Africa and beyond on September 14.

Ms Erwin said that the paper “is primarily concerned with some of the dilemmas of doing research on race and race thinking in South Africa, and beyond.  It examines the broader theoretical debates and concepts within the field of race and race thinking and makes an argument that researchers need to examine critically the rituals of research and how they interact with, solidify or challenge meanings attached to race. In particular it calls for discussion and reflection on how our current epistemologies and methodologies are busy writing future understandings of this social construct, and the limits of some of these practices on more inclusive state policies and structures”.  

Albert Park in central Durban was the focus for her research, and Ms Erwin spent a few months living in the area. “I enjoyed living and researching there, even though people told me the area was dangerous,” she said. Albert Park holds a special place in her heart as she lived there when she was younger.

She added that her paper “also, ambitiously, attempts to move … macro-theoretical debates into the micro context of the research process.  It does this through examining how these critical reflections are played out or reshaped in the process of data collection and analysis, specifically in the way we ask questions, how we select respondents and think about the researcher's identity”.

Ms Erwin added that while social scientists agree that race is socially constructed and not a biological fact, “it is not enough to say that it is socially constructed but then go around and use it as  [it fixes] categories in our research”. When asked whether she thought the race issue was still prominent after 16 years of democracy, she said at times it is; however we should also be open to new identities that are emerging.


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

VISIT BY THE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, IFAKI-EKITI IN NIGERIA

VISIT BY THE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, IFAKI-EKITI IN NIGERIA
author email : online@ukzn.ac.za

FINAL YEAR EDUCATION STUDENTS ENJOY “MEET YOUR EMPLOYER DAY”

FINAL YEAR EDUCATION STUDENTS ENJOY “MEET YOUR EMPLOYER DAY” Students enrolled for their final year of study at UKZN’s Faculty of Education benefited from a “Meet Your Employer Day” co-hosted by the University and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (DoE) on September 16.

 

This initiative forms an integral part of the Faculty’s mission to produce quality educators. Students completing a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) are orientated into the profession by being placed in vacancies at various schools and offered employment.

 

Deputy-Dean for Initial Teacher Education in the Faculty, Professor Thabisile Buthelezi said that the DoE is the biggest employer of their students. Dean of the Faulty, Professor Michael Samuel said that it was alarming that 18 percent of teachers have not achieved a four-year qualification. He wished the students all the best in their upcoming qualifying exams.

 

“A qualification merely enables a teacher to teach at a school. However, this is only the first step. A life-long journey of growing in the service awaits you,” said Professor Buthelezi. She added that “Meet Your Employer Day” is a good example of the relationship the Faculty prides itself on with the DoE and schools around the province.

 

In his keynote address, the principal of Ntee High School, Mr Jabu Ngidi left his colleagues with the message, “Cheer up! You’re a teacher”. He explained to the students that nothing markets interns more at schools than a positive work ethic. “Although many today might argue otherwise, I believe teaching is still a calling... You need to identify the talent in you,” he said.

 

General Manger for Human Resource Management at the DoE, Mr Nkosinathi Ngcobo encouraged the students to stay in the province and reap the benefits of working close to home. One of the Faculty’s objectives is to admit more students from rural areas. Mr Ngcobo announced that teachers working in rural areas will have 10 percent added to their salaries. 

 

The students were interested to learn about the benefits that come with qualifying as a teacher. They also heard presentations by the South African Council for Educators (SACE), and the DoE’s Mr Terrance Naidoo on the Department’s graduate recruitment plan.

 

Deputy-President for the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Edgewood campus, Mr Vikani Msimanga sai
author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

CENTENARY FUN RUN FOSTERS CAMARADERIE

CENTENARY FUN RUN FOSTERS CAMARADERIE Everyone was a winner at the recent Faculty of Science and Agriculture Centenary fun run held at Ukulinga farm in Pietermaritzburg.  Approximately 300 staff and postgraduate students ran or walked the 5 km course and were rewarded with a special centenary medal.  Although an annual event on the Faculty’s calendar, this year’s fun run was dedicated to celebrating 100 years of academic excellence and featured commemorative trophies and medals.

The event provided the rare opportunity for Faculty members to get together in a relaxed, informal atmosphere and enjoy some vigorous exercise followed by a sumptuous breakfast.  Academic Schools and Units within the Faculty rallied together and dressed up for the occasion, hoping to win one of the team awards.  Some even brought their dogs along, suitably attired.  One postgraduate student went so far as to complete the walk carrying his bird in a cage.

The Dean of Science and Agriculture, Professor Deo Jaganyi, who was dressed as a spring flower, was on hand to officially start the run and to award the prizes.  The Centenary Shield for the First Man was won by Dr Timo Van Der Niet and the Centenary Floating Trophy went to Ms Vicky Crookes.  The Last Person Home award was claimed by Mr Ashlin Munsamy.   The closely contested team awards were won by: the School of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology for the Best Representation, the Faculty of Science and Agriculture for the Best Team Spirit and the Discipline of Animal and Poultry Science for the Best Dressed Team.  


author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za