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State funds for student expansion

The number of university students in South Africa will grow by 53,000 to reach 837,000 in 2011 – and the government has allocated an additional R700 million (US$69 million) to accommodate the expansion – Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel announced in his 2009 budget speech this month. He also gave the student financial aid scheme a R330 million boost to enable more disadvantaged youngsters to secure university bursaries and loans.

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University of Pretoria joins World Digital Library Project

The University of Pretoria’s Department of Library Services has joined the World Digital Library Project, making it one of the 27 institutions in the world and the only one in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa to belong to this project.
Proposed in 2005 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Digital Library project will make available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.
To read more Click Here!

For more information regarding the World Digital Library project, please visit http://www.worlddigitallibrary.org/project/english/index.html

Debating the state of Education in South Africa

On 29 January 2009 the Sunday Times Columnist, Professor Jonathan Jansen challenged all parties to answer a series of questions in a column entitled Vital Questions for Politicians

1. What will your party do if an MEC for education in one of the provinces shows blatant disregard for a scheduled meeting of the minister of education to discuss the opening of the school year, and trots off to attend the court proceedings for the president of her political party?
2. Given the acknowledged failure to deliver in the provinces on noble policies at the national level, would you appoint people to critical positions on the basis of their loyalty to the party, or on the basis of their competence?
3. What would you do if the largest teachers’ union, an ally of Cosatu (which itself is a member of the alliance), decides, like they did before, to close down and disrupt schools for weeks or months in the interest of their teachers – but to the devastation of pupil s and learning in our poorest schools?
4. Given the evidence that poor leadership is to blame in many of the country’s most dysfunctional schools, would you fire serially ineffective principals despite their loyalties to the dominant party?
5. Given the additional evidence of schools in each province that repeatedly fail masses of learners, are you prepared to appoint an administrator to take over seriously malfunctioning schools – just as the legislation permits malfunctioning universities to be taken over by government?
6. Given further evidence that in many of the under-performing schools, the problem is the teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter, would you act against the protectionist instincts of the teachers’ unions and test every teacher to see whether they know enough to teach our children?
7. Given the increasing demand for higher education in the country, would you “uncap” the limits imposed on university enrolments by the education department so that all young people who qualify can enjoy access to advanced training?
8. Given that the children of the middle classes start with a huge advantage in grade 1 because they attended excellent preschools, will you make and fund a compulsory, quality preschool for all children?
9. Given the fact that the 2008 Mathematical Literacy paper contained a majority of questions common to much lower school grades, are you prepared to admit that the standard of education in the country is appallingly low?
10. Given the fact that the most competent teachers in the deep rural areas are often from India and Zimbabwe, are you prepared to permit a massive inflow of foreign teachers to help – in the short term – particularly with mathematics and science teaching in our poorest schools?
11. Given the obvious incapacity of the Eastern Cape province to offer even a modicum of quality education to the majority living in that province -despite the rapid turnovers in the heads of department and MECs – is your party prepared to petition the national government to take over education in that province in the interest of the pupils?

The ANC have responded to these questions in its weekly column. To read the ANCs answers go to Ray Hartley’s Sunday Times Blog The Wild Frontier by Clicking Here!
or

Go directly to the ANCs web site by Clicking Here

Nick Taylor’s paper on what is wrong in South African Education and how to fix it.

Nick Taylor, CEO of JET Education Services, presented a paper on 21 November 2008 to the CSR in Education Conference, TSiBA Education, Cape Town, on “What’s wrong with our schools and how to fix them”.

The paper outlines the three main shortcomings in the system, attempts to understand why these problems are endemic in South African schools, and suggests a way forward in the interests of putting all schools onto a more productive path. 

According to the paper three features of the school system combine to undermine effective teaching and learning: poor time management, insufficient attention to text, and very low levels of teacher subject knowledge. With respect to these three factors our teachers and schools are significantly worse off than those many of our much poorer neighbours in the region.

He went on to explain the importance of each of theses areas in achieving quality education, and to analyse the reasons for the shortcomings, basing his discussion on Durkheim’s forms of social organisation.

He went on to explain the importance of each of theses areas in achieving quality education, and to analyse the reasons for the shortcomings, basing his discussion on Durkheim’s forms of social organisation.

To read a copy of the paper Click Here!

The South African Department of Education plans to focus on infrastructure shortfalls

“Lack of education infrastructure in rural areas, will be a focal point of the Department of Education over the next five years”, the South African Minister of Education Naledi Pandor announced on Monday.

Infrastructural inadequacies, national, provincial and district education incompetence, and teacher incapacity will be addressed over the next five years.

To read more go to Michael Apple’s article in Bua News (Tshwane) on the allAfrica.com website by Clicking Here!

South Africa to get 400 new teachers from Kenya

More than 400 science and mathematics teachers from Kenya are soon expected to start working in South Africa.

This follows an announcement by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for opportunities that could see the teachers earn 10 times more in South Africa than what is offered in Kenya.

The recruitment is being done by TSC on behalf of South Africa’s Education Department. Successful applicants are set to start work in the next three months.

For more on this read the article in the Daily Nation Newspaper by Clicking Here!

NEPAD is planning a project to link schools to the Internet

NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), an African Union programme focusing on reducing poverty, is planning a project to link schools to the Internet.

A pilot of this e-schools-initiative was recently completed in  16 African countries.

To read more go to the article on VOANews by Clicking Here!