A UKZN alumnus was recently named a Fellow of the Royal Society, a prestigious award given annually to 44 British scientists, eight Foreign Members and up to one Honorary Fellow, elected from a group of over 700 candidates proposed by the existing Fellowship.

Professor Michele Karen Dougherty - a Professor of Space Physics at the Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College in London - was given the award for her work in scientific leadership on the international NASA-ESA-ASI Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons.

Dougherty, said: ‘I'm delighted and privileged to have been elected to the Royal Society. It is wonderful and very exciting to have one's work honoured in such a way. I would like to thank my many colleagues I have worked with over the years, at Imperial and on the Cassini team – I am indebted to them for their support and the interactions and collaborations we have had.’

Dougherty, 49, graduated with a PhD from the then University of Natal in 1988 and has lived in London for the past 21 years. Her father, Professor Brian Dougherty, was at UKZN as the Head of Civil Engineering.

According to the Royal Society, as Principal Investigator of the operation, data collection and analysis of observations from the magnetic field instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft, Dougherty was responsible for major advances in our understanding of the physics of the Saturn system. ‘Her discovery of a dynamic and exotic atmosphere of water constituents and hydrocarbons at Saturn's moon Enceladus revolutionised our perspective of the role of planetary moons in the solar system and has opened up entire new areas of planetary research. This discovery has driven plans for new spacecraft missions to Saturn's moons, including the search for life in other parts of the solar system.’  

She is currently leading a science team for a mission, recently selected by the European Space Agency, to go to the Jupiter system, which will be launched in 2022 and reach Jupiter in 2030.  She balances her work between teaching, research and managing the Cassini magnetometer team.
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Sixteen students have qualified as the first group of Occupational Therapy Technicians (OTTs) in KwaZulu-Natal after completing an 18-month programme which was the result of a partnership between UKZN and the provincial Department of Health (DoH).


The group, who qualified as OTTs when they passed the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) board exam in April 2011, were congratulated by the University, DoH, friends and family during an oath-taking ceremony on the Westville campus.


HPCSA is the regulating body for health professions in the country.


‘It’s a pleasure to welcome you as the first successes of the programme,’ said Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences at UKZN.


‘You are going to play a huge role in pioneering the National Health System and the re-engineering of primary health care in South Africa.’


 Essack acknowledged that health care faced various challenges in the country and said there was an urgent need for a competent workforce.


Mrs Gugulethu Mkhize, a DoH representative, said KwaZulu-Natal was the only province in the country that had implemented a programme of this scope.


‘The ceremony is the culmination of hard work and dedication,’ said Mkhize, who emphasised there was a need for mid-level professionals in South Africa as they would increase manpower.


Professor RWE Joubert, Head of Occupational Therapy at UKZN, encouraged the OTTs to uphold the profession and strive for excellence and innovation at all times.


Ms Zama Mtshali, an OTT at Appelsbosch Hospital in the UMgungundlovu district, said the course was difficult at first but they soon adapted, learning a lot in the process.


In KwaZulu-Natal, Occupational Therapy training is offered only at UKZN, where it is in the form of a four-year Bachelor qualification accredited with the HPCSA.

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The latest in interventions for children’s speech sound disorders were explained at a course at UKZN run by Australian Speech-Language pathologist Dr Caroline Bowen who is  renowned within the profession and beyond for her website


The course was attended by staff, students and speech-language pathologists.


An enthusiastic ambassador and gifted teacher, Bowen is fascinated by child speech, family centred practice, clinical applications of information and communication technology, and continuing professional education.


She is an Honorary Associate in Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney, a Certified Practising Member and a Life member of Speech Pathology Australia, and a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Since 1998 Bowen’s website has provided information and resources to consumers, speech-language pathologists / speech-language therapists and students worldwide. The content reflects the professional, clinical, teaching and research activities of Bowen who has special interests in children's speech sound disorders and the role of families in intervention.


‘It’s a privilege to spend time with someone who advocates for the profession and who is so willing share her knowledge,’ said Ms Jenny Pahl, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology at UKZN.


Bowen presented various evidence-based interventions for Speech Sound Disorders (SSD) for children whose difficulties are phonetic, phonemic, phonotactic, perceptual or motoric, but advised that not all interventions suited every child.


Participants learned eight traditional and eight “newer” approaches to target selection; the application of non-linear principles in intervention for syllable structure errors in children with phonological disorder and/or childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), facilitative articulatory contexts, and other therapy facts and “tricks”.


The course on CAS explored the connections between linguistic theory, the principles of motor learning and the speech language therapy assessment, and management of individuals with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.


The fourth day focused on Parents and Children Together (PACT), a broad-based, empirically tested approach developed by Bowen for treating children with phonological disorders.


This approach is validated for treating phonological disorders in younger children but has also been used (but not formally evaluated) for older children with speech sound disorders and children with SLI, pragmatic issues, cognitive delay, clefts, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Williams syndrome, and cochlear implants.


Bowen met 2nd year students and observed their clinical practice providing them with useful feedback. She also developed course materials with staff in the area of Speech Sound Disorders. 


* Bowen’s third book, Children’s Speech Sound Disorders, was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2009.
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In 1962 seven men and a woman graduated from the Pietermaritzburg campus of the then University of Natal with Bachelor of Agriculture degrees, majoring in animal husbandry.  Fifty years later, the same group reconvened to mark this historic milestone and share fond memories of their old stomping ground.  For as Class member Dr Jeremy (Jebs) Grant said: ‘Those were the times of our lives!’

Of the eight 1962 graduates, seven made the reunion, coming from as far afield as Tasmania and Zimbabwe for the special occasion.  They were Mr John Baxter, Mr Eric Hulbert, Dr Jeremy Grant, Mrs Iona Stewart (nee Wise), Mr Barend Poortenaar, Mr Malcolm Bennett and Mr Stan Parsons.  The only person from the original class unable to join the reunion was Mr Paul Goodwin of Zimbabwe.

To make up the numbers, Mr Eddie Meyer joined the group as an ‘honorary’ member, for as he said: ‘I was the only Dairy Science major, and I knew these rogues all the way through.’

After excited greetings, the stories were soon flowing.  Stewart, who organised the reunion, recalled that she was the only woman student in “AgFac” at the time, and had to get special dispensation to leave the women’s residence at four in the morning to milk the cows.

‘I had one lecturer, Dr Scott,’ she said.  ‘He really didn’t think a woman should be studying agriculture.  He spent three years of lectures looking straight through me.  But after graduation he came up to me and said:  ‘Your parents gave you a gift when you were born.  They christened you Iona B Wise, and that is what you have been.’  From then on we were the best of friends!’

Parson’s memories centre on ‘sitting on the steps of Rabie Saunders, doing nothing, and solving the problems of the world.’  He recalled how in 1962 the lawns in front of the Rabie Saunders building stretched out towards the highway and the open veld beyond. ‘There were none of the trees that there are now. The landscape has changed enormously.  But the inside of the building is still exactly the same.’

To mark the occasion, Grant, who spent 22 years in agricultural research and a further 20 as Deputy Director of the Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers’ Union, gave a presentation titled: “Commercial Agricultural Production in Zimbabwe and the Effect of Land Reform”.

In this he shared both his academic research and his personal experiences of the catastrophic effect of land reform on commercial agricultural production in Zimbabwe over the past 10 years.

Having paid their respects to AgFac, the group went to the Royal Show Grounds for a grand reunion lunch sponsored by the Royal Agricultural Society, and to build up a new set of rich and happy memories.  A wider gathering of agricultural graduates of the time was held at Merrivale.
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Second year media and psychology student Ms Divashni Reddy has shown she has what it takes to be a top model - she will be featured in the July issue of Sports Illustrated South Africa.

Reddy saw her chance to cement her career as a model by uploading a picture of herself online for the Sports Illustrated South Africa New Model Search 2012.

The public were asked to cast their votes and Reddy won a place among the top 15 finalists which involved going to Cape Town for the New Model Search photographic shoot.

I try my hand in everything I think is achievable. Sports Illustrated is an amazing magazine and I am a fan of their Swimwear Edition,’ she said.

Reddy has also been a judge at various fashion show castings and was a semi-finalist for Miss Earth South Africa 2011 and finalist for Miss Summer Heat.

Despite a hectic schedule, she manages to strike a comfortable balance between her modelling career, her studies, running a salon and a photography business.

‘Having a diary or day planner can save your life! For me, it makes the seemingly impossible, possible. The help of my loved ones is also a major factor in keeping my hectic timetable manageable.’

To relax, Reddy reads poetry and also dances.  What advice does she have for aspiring models? ‘Be yourself because if you don’t then you may pass up the opportunity to be the greatest person you will ever meet. Being who you are regardless of what anyone says or thinks will get you whatever you want, whether it is a career or personal goal.’

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Abafundi abenza unyaka wokugcina ezifundweni zobuhlengikazi e-UKZN bathole uqeqesho olucwaningiwe ngengculazi nesandulela ngculazi lwezinsuku ezinhlanu, benikezwa abase - Enhancing Care Initiative (ECI) Unit e-UKZN bexhaswe abakwaMedical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

Loluqeqesho olunzulu obelethulwa ngabafundisi nabezempilo abahamba phambili lujatshulelwe kakhulu abafundi abathe bathole ulwazi oluningi olubavule amehlo.

Loluhlelo lubafundise ngezihloko ezingu-20 ezibalulekile ngesifo sengculazi nesandulela ngculazi, nabafundi bakujabulele kakhulu ukuthola nencwadi abazoyisebenzisa njalo uma befuna ukuqondisisa abakufundile.

Ezihlokweni ebekufundwa ngazo kubalwe iVirology of HIV; Natural history and pathogenesis of acute and chronic HIV; Opportunistic infections in adults; DoH guidelines in HIV counselling and testing (HTC); New STI guidelines; HIV and TB; Monitoring for ART and treatment failure; Clinical case studies: ARV therapy; Nurse practitioner assessment of the HIV infected patient; HIV nutrition; neHIV kubantu besifazane nabantwana.

Abafundi bakujabulele ukuhlangana nokulalela uSolwazi Jerome Amir Singh, onguMpathi we-Ethics and Law eCenter for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), othule ngesihloko se-Ethics neNgculazi.

UMnu Sanele Chili okulangazelele ukuqeda izifundo zakhe uthe uthole okuningi kulezinsuku ezinhlanu.

Abangani, uNksz Kristy Mathioudakis noNksz Lauren Crosson, bathe loluhlelo belubaluleke kakhulu ngoba bazobe besebenza neziguli eziphethwe yilesifo nsuku zonke. ‘Zonke izikhulumi bezinogqozi,’ kusho labangani.

Click here for english version

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Students from the College of Law and Management Studies recently participated in an intercampus contest in which they presented business proposals for small start-up businesses.

The event is held at the close of each semester and forms an important component of the Integrated Business Studies module.

The business proposal presentations make up a significant proportion of students’ final assessments in a module that contributes to the purpose of the BCom programme in terms of developing critical approaches, critical thinking, understanding of the South African business context, group work, and effective communication, research and presentation skills.

Students impressed their audience at the Graduate School of Business auditorium, receiving remarkable reviews from a panel of experts.

‘Our students worked hard to come up with such innovative and creative business ideas,’ said module director Dr Dianna Moodley. ‘They displayed extraordinary professionalism and incredible presentation and entrepreneurial skills ­- to see these young people get up on that stage and give everything they had was truly a joy. To watch them engage and respond with such confidence to some challenging interrogation from the audience made us proud of each and every one of them.

‘It makes it all worthwhile to be given the opportunity to inspire and empower young minds. Emerging talent like this shows promise of an optimistic prospect for South African business,’ said Moodley.

A member of the adjudicating panel, Dr Angela James, said she was ‘impressed by the student ethic and work quality which have been developed over this short period. The motivation and spirit displayed among the team members during the presentations was great and it was rewarding to see students thinking out of the box while making this applicable to real life taking into account social, economic and environmental aspects.

‘Yes, if we want to grow the entrepreneurial actions of the youth there has to be a starting point…this is it!’

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The College of Health Sciences (CHS) held a successful Information Day on the Westville campus.


Targeting top 10 mathematics, physical sciences and life sciences learners from various KwaZulu-Natal high schools, the event was attended by 450 Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners, parents, teachers and guidance counsellors who received adequate information to help learners make an informed career choice.


As the largest provider of health sciences professional programmes in the province, the College is committed to producing healthcare professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to achieve affordable, accessible and optimal health for all.


The College consists of four schools - Clinical Medicine; Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences (LMMS); Health Sciences; and Nursing and Public Health.


Information Day was attended by College management, members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and academic and support staff who recognised UKZN as an Institution of choice for students. 


‘It’s wonderful to see faces of young people who are prospective professionals in the health sciences,’ said Professor Fanie Botha, Director: College Professional Services.


‘When you come to UKZN you are really getting quality education,’ said Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences. She said all relevant programmes were accredited by the Health Professions Council South Africa (HPCSA), the South Africa Pharmacy Council (SAPC) or the South African Nursing Council.


Essack highlighted that graduates from the College stepped out into a world of employment opportunities because of South Africa’s serious shortage of healthcare workers as indicated by the national Department of Health.


Each of the disciplines has a comprehensive curriculum while students are trained using state-of-the-art facilities, and the College prioritises the scholarship of health in South Africa and Africa.


‘Our graduates are trained to work in different environments; from the well-resourced to the extremely under resourced,’ said Essack, who stressed that selection into first year of study was for the “cream of the crop” as space was limited and the College was serious about quality and excellence.


Mr Len Mzimela, Director of University Relations and Marketing Support: Corporate Relations Division, assured learners that UKZN rewarded excellence, offering several merit-based bursaries and scholarships from the first year of study. ‘All you have to do is put your head down and push up your marks.’


The MBChB is a six-year programme run by the College. The first three years of the programme are spent in LMMS followed by three clinical years.


Mr Tamuhla Gilbert, President of the Medical SRC, assured learners they would have a lot of fun and exciting extramural activities to look forward to at UKZN. He said the SRC supported the University’s Transformation Charter and emphasised that medical doctors had the huge responsibility of taking care of the whole of South Africa.
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From officiating in Varsity 3rd team rugby matches to being in control of a SuperRugby game, UKZN alumnus Stuart Berry’s rise up the refereeing ranks has been spectacular.

Berry spent several happy years on the Pietermaritzburg campus accumulating degrees including a BSc Hons in Conservation Studies and more recently an MSc in Hydrology.

As a young undergraduate, Berry started refereeing Varsity 3rd team matches, quickly graduating through the ranks to significant Moor Cup, Currie Cup and IRB Sevens assignments.

He made his SuperRugby debut at the recent Cheetahs - Western Force game in Bloemfontein.  ‘It certainly wasn't the easiest game to have refereed but I’m happy to have one under the belt and to have experienced SuperRugby,’ said Berry.

‘The wonderful thing about reffing at that level is that great players make for great games.  The Force’s David Pocock and Heinrich Brussouw of the Cheetahs are two of the best in their business and it was a pleasure having them on the field. They need some managing but its humbling having such class players on the field contributing to a game.

‘I’m excited to get back to club rugby. I learned my trade officiating in club matches in KZN and that has contributed hugely to where I have managed to get to now. Club rugby is very important and the Varsity Cup is hungry for attention.’

Berry follows a long line of successful UKZN referees, including Roger Sheppard, the current club Chairman, as well as Craig Joubert who refereed the Rugby World Cup final last year.

Berry remains active in UKZN alumni affairs, having served on UKZN’s Rugby Centenary Committee, and often appears as compere at Varsity Shield matches at the University.
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The Green Squad Alliance (GSA), a young people’s movement for a cleaner, better and brighter future, was launched recently on the Howard College campus.  The organisation has 30 members but according to its Chairman, Mr Delwyn Pillay, that’s not enough.

He urged both staff and students across all five UKZN campuses to get involved and become members of the organisation to collectively create and raise public awareness around environmental and social justice issues and to offer and mobilise support.

‘We recognised a need for the youth to get involved and to address environmental injustices as well as social issues such as climate change and to have the environment protected, purely for the benefit of present and future generations,’ said Pillay.

He hopes the launch of the GSA will serve as a platform for the youth to have a voice regarding environmental issues and to promote a sustainable lifestyle by integrating conservation and development so that everyone has an equal chance to access resources.

Accounting student and self-confessed greenie Mr Mfundo Majola joined the organisation to help raise awareness about the importance of the environment and to get the message out to the student masses that the environment and the planet are worth saving.

‘People should be educated and should become more active and involved in green issues because everyone is ultimately responsible for the environment’, he said.

The GSA also held its first event recently, a film screening and discussion that drew an interested crowd. The film, Patent for a Pig: The Big Business of Genetics, focused on an American biotechnology firm, Monsanto, which applied for a patent for pig breeding in 160 countries.

The patent is for specific parts of the genetic material of pigs which Monsanto’s genetic researchers have decoded. If the patent is approved, money will have to be paid to Monsanto for every pig in the world carrying this genetic marker.

‘We chose this film as an eye-opener because it is not merely a question of money but also of the risk posed to consumers. In America, as in Europe, cases of infertility in animals fed with genetically modified maize are becoming increasingly common. No-one yet knows what effects such products are having on humans,’ said Pillay.

This particular film led to a fervent discussion on the issue of genetic engineering and its relation to public health and food security.

The GSA is organising seminars and workshops in the coming months and looks forward to welcoming new members.

Interested individuals are urged to contact Mr Delwyn Pillay at and to visit the Facebook page at

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I recently travelled to Pietermaritzburg to attend the UKZN rugby day in aid of the Jes Foord Foundation and the Rugby against Rape project. The day was marked by a series of selfless gestures.

Firstly, the Varsity Third team fronted up for action against Cedara College, just a few hours after having played a league match. An amazing gesture by the ‘Thirsty Thirds’ and one which more serious teams would not dare contemplate.

Then the UKZN Howard College team forfeited their usual bright strip to play in the lime green colours of the Jes Foord Foundation. Jes herself was touched by this.

However, the most astonishing gesture came from the UKZN Under 20 team which had been shunted to the B field and given an unglamorous kick-off time in order to accommodate the senior teams.

It happened after the rugby day while the guys were being led in song and “fines” by their Captain whose name, I believe, is Sanele Mweli, a business administration student on the Pietermaritzburg campus. They call him “the Chief” - he does not have a rugby pedigree and did not attend a traditional rugby school but has trained hard to be Under 20 Captain.

A former Varsity and provincial player was so impressed by the spirit of these young players that he gave the Chief a rather substantial sum to spend on their little party. The Chief pocketed the money and then went to speak to his team. Within a minute the Chief had returned, money in hand, declaring to the benefactor that his team wanted to donate the money to the Jes Foord Foundation!

I have subsequently asked about the Chief. He himself is short of money and his mother is struggling to pay his varsity fees. Now that's what you call honourable! The Chief's attitude is a shining example to school and university players in South Africa who are sometimes so preoccupied with achievements, exposure and contracts that they lose the ethos of enjoyment, honesty and loyalty - the very qualities which underlie the point of sport.

To Roger Sheppard, Ashraf Ghani, Reggie Smith, Ian Tait and the committee men of UKZN rugby: the camaraderie and integrity you are fostering among our youth make results on the field almost incidental. You should be commended!

Article submitted by Mr Mark Shulze, an alumnus of the University.

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The Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine was a partner in the presentation of a Wellness Day held at the Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban.

The cathedral held a candle lighting ceremony in memory of all those who have died from HIV and AIDS and other diseases and encouraged people to get screened for chronic diseases.

The Wellness Day event was part of a Health Awareness Campaign initiated by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DoH) and the Usizo Lwethu Clinic run by the Cathedral’s Denis Hurley Centre (DHC) in partnership with the Medical School.

Mass was attended by guests from UKZN, the Church’s Diocesan chancery and the DoH

Addressing the congregation, Professor Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, Associate Professor and Acting Academic Leader: Public Health at UKZN, said it was important for everyone to check their health status regularly in order to prevent diseases from progressing to severe stages. 

‘We find that people only go to the clinic when they are very sick and we are trying to instil in them a habit of having their health checked and leading a healthy lifestyle,’ said Mr Kimoto Kungwa, a professional nurse and Clinic Co-ordinator at Usizo Lwethu Clinic.

The Usizo Lwethu Clinic is situated at the DHC.  The Emmanuel Cathedral, with the late Archbishop Denis Hurley at the helm, played an historical role in the struggle against apartheid and the assistance it gave to poor people over many years. It became a place of refuge for thousands of homeless people and refugees from all over Africa, including many living with HIV and AIDS and other affected individuals and families.

First year students in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme at the Medical School Ms Noora Naby, Ms Shaakira Ebrahim and Ms Naseeba Ebrahim, said it had been an exciting new experience to be part of the Wellness Day.

The trio did community service at the event as part of their Making a Difference Module at UKZN.

Health professionals checked blood pressure, blood sugar and weight and also did TB screening, HIV counselling and testing, specimen of CD-4 count, health education as well as referrals for those found in need of medical consultation.

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Project CARE, a study analysing risk and resilience among young people in Durban, is being conducted by a United States academic in partnership with a UKZN professor.

The six-year study by Professor Wendy Kliewer, Chair of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Professor Basil Pillay, Head of Behavioural Medicine at UKZN, is the result of a collaborative research project – the first of its kind in Africa – which received $64 509 in seed funding from VCU’s Global Education Office and the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Kliewer presented on the topic: Risk and Resilience in Urban Youth: Selected Findings from Project COPE, at a public lecture held by the College of Health Sciences.

Project COPE  – a four-year home interview study conducted with youth and care-givers by Kliewer in impoverished areas of the city of Richmond in the United States - examined risk and protective factors for substance use and other behaviour problems during adolescence. 

In this study, Kliewer found that risk affects coping and erodes young people’s perceptions of support which in turn leads to challenges in adjustment or ‘social competence’. She said the youth were exposed to varying risk factors, most of which were attuned to the situational context and could not be modified.

She identified a need for intervention in emotion regulation and improving the relationship parents and caregivers have with the youth.

Project CARE (Community Assessment of Risk and Resilience) will follow two age-groups of youth as well as their caregivers from low income families in the greater Durban municipality annually for four years. Equal numbers of families from across the various demographic groups will be included.

Pillay said eight schools in and around Durban had already been enrolled for the project. He looked forward to the outcomes which he believed would influence health and education policies, intervention programmes and service delivery.

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The Black Management Forum (BMF) Student Chapter at Howard College recently hosted a three member panel discussion which featured academics Professor Pearl Sithole and Mr Tebello Thabane and Mr Menzi Mthethwa, a Masters student in Development Studies to discuss the future of South Africa.

The discussion forum was initiated in order to reflect on aspects of Vision 2030 proposed by the National Planning Commission (NPC). The theme of the discussion was Building a Capable State, Using Education as its Foundation.

Well attended and generating a plethora of views and ideas, the forum unanimously agreed that education should be the nation's priority and that there was a need to transform the content of the education system to reflect and espouse African values and teachings.  This could be achieved by – among other things - embracing African literature and scholarly work in the curriculum.

The duty of the BMF Student Chapter is to facilitate discussions and bring awareness to students of various issues are happening around the country, especially those of policy formulation relating to socio-economic issues. The BMF remains committed to hosting discussion forums which are informative, transformative, inspiring and well-planned in order to build a thinking and competent youth in our country.

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