• Education Library

  • Library Website

  • Library Facebook

  • Library Catalogue Keyword Search

  • New Books in the Library

  • Pages

  • Select a Category

  • Visitors to this Site

  • Archives

  • Advertisements

Academy of Sciences defends academic freedom in South Africa

The Academy of Sciences of South Africa has defended academic freedom it believes is under threat from intrusive government regulations, the “apparently excessive influence” of private sector sponsorships of universities and perceived limitations on free speech within universities. The academy represents the country’s outstanding scientists.

To read more go to Munyaradzi Makoni’s article in University World News by Clicking Here!

Advertisements

Ahmed Essop appointed as chief executive of South Africa’s Council on Higher Education

Mr Ahmed Essop was recently appointed as the new chief executive of South Africa’s Council on Higher Education. He succeeds Cheryl de la Rey, who left the council last year after becoming the University of Pretoria’s first black and first female vice-chancellor. Former vice-chancellor and education consultant, Rolf Stumpf, has been acting chief executive in the interim.

Mr Essop holds a Masters in International Development Education from Stanford University in the USA, and is very well known in higher education circles having served for many years as Chief Director in the Higher Education Branch of the former Department of Education, and more recently as an independent consultant in higher education. He also served as Director at the Centre for Education Policy Development. He is well acquainted with the many challenges facing higher education in South Africa as well as the CHE as he was deeply involved in most of the policy initiatives aimed at transforming our higher education system during the period 1997 to 2005

He will take up his post in May.

To read more go to Cornia Pretorius’ article in University World News by Clicking Here!
or go to the CHE site by Clicking Here!

Motshekga unveils Master Plan for Education in South Africa

The South African Department of Basic Education has developed an action plan to co-ordinate and guide all interventions in the department in order to turn the education system around.

The plan, which will be known as Schooling 2025: The Department of Basic Education’s Action Plan, will provide long-term solutions to the challenges facing the department, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The plan will make provision for the monitoring of progress against a set of measurable indicators covering all aspects of basic education, including teacher recruitment and retention, learner enrolment and well-being, infrastructure, school funding, mass literacy and educational quality.

“The plan will establish key outcomes and performance deliverables for the entire education system, including the national and provincial departments.
“It will commit provinces and provincial education departments to clear, agreed-to outcomes and ensure that all in the system are accountable for attaining these outcomes,” Motshekga said.

She reiterated that South Africa’s learning outcomes continued to be unsatisfactory.

“All local and international assessments are agreed that far too many of our learners, especially African learners, do not perform at the required level.

“We have identified the underlying factors and we are determined to work systematically to resolve them,” said Motshekga.

She added that the adoption of an outcomes approach in implementing government’s priorities, announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address, will ensure that the work of government is measured according to outcomes.

“The outcomes approach enables us to set measurable targets and deliverables, against which we and South Africa can monitor our progress in addressing the challenges in education that remain.”

This article was obtained from BuaNews Online  and was compiled by the South African Government Communication and Information System.

Low HIV prevalence among South African students, study shows

South Africa’s student population recorded an HIV prevalence of 3,4% in the first comprehensive study (The Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) study) to survey the scope and impact of HIV and AIDS on the higher education sector in South Africa.

The HIV prevalence among academic staff was 1,5%, administrative staff 4,4% and service staff 12,2%.

To read more go to Anso Thom’s article on AllAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

South African government to overhaul funding of research

Sue Blaine recently wrote in Business Day about the South African government’s plans to change the way it funds higher education research, and the possibility of an increase in research funding in 2011.

The Department of Higher Education and Training has allocated R1,8bn to research “outputs” for 2010-11 and recently put R1,6bn into infrastructure improvements in higher education, with a special focus on science, engineering, technology and education, according to acting deputy director-general, Kirti Menon.

Minister Blade Nzimande is also seeking advice from the Council on Higher Education about the possibility that the 80% higher education budget for research outputs be distributed on the basis of the actual research outputs produced by universities. The balance of 20% would be used for research development grants.

To read Sue Blaine original article on allAfrica.com Click Here!

Africa needs collaborative networks to improve higher education

Collaborative networks are crucial to improve the state of African higher education, says innovation expert Mammo Muchie.

Higher education and research in Africa have largely been neglected, both internally and externally, since the 1980s.

If Africa is to join the global knowledge community as an equal partner, it must revolutionise its research, education and training systems.

This does not simply mean pumping money into individual institutions. This can help raise the profile of single universities or research institutes but will do little to improve the system as a whole.

Rather, the key is to foster and sustain a network that circulates knowledge and encourages the creative learner, researcher and knowledge producer.

The priority must be to promote networks for African researchers to engage with and learn from each other. These must initially work within Africa, set up at various scales in multiple forums. A first step would be to establish an Africa-wide university accreditation scheme.

It is scandalous that this has not already been done, although East African universities have recently revived the possibility of recognising each others’ degrees, paving the way for a university accreditation system operating throughout the African Union.

Working together

South Africa will clearly be an important player, as it has a strong higher education and research system that includes five universities recognised in international rankings. The challenge is to use these strengths to support the efforts of other countries.

South Africa must continue to keep its borders open to students and researchers from the rest of Africa — more African postgraduates now travel to South Africa for their training than to Europe or the United States.

The rest of Africa must encourage South Africa to engage in their local knowledge activities. This is already happening in some countries. For example, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology is cooperating with researchers in South Africa on its Millennium Science Initiative and is working to stimulate innovation and improve relations between the two research communities through a joint science prize.

At a broader scale, Africa needs a network of locally relevant journals — such as The African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development — to disseminate research results and knowledge, to facilitate policy learning and informed dialogue, and to encourage emerging African researchers to publish their work.

Developing networks

Equally important are training networks to boost PhD numbers and reverse the sharp decline in doctoral training seen over the past 30 years.

There is already some progress to report. African scientific board members of the Global Network for the Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (Globelics), for example, are inspiring and building research and knowledge capacity in Africa by inviting scientists from other developing regions and top researchers from the North to interact with and help their counterparts in Africa. 

The African Globelics Academy for Research, Innovation and Capability (AGARIC) will be running its first PhD school in 2010. The Globelics Academy has provided scholarships for ten African PhD students each year for seven years, where they have an opportunity to interact with the best and brightest from the rest of the world. By establishing AGARIC more African students will benefit by also inviting PhD candidates from the rest of the world to interact with them.

Another scheme, proposed by Stellenbosch University in South Africa, is the African Doctoral Academy, which aims to help PhD students develop generic skills. Although the project would initially focus on students studying arts and social sciences at the university, it is expected to grow to provide for other disciplines at other African universities in Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.

Help from abroad

But efforts must not be limited to within the continent itself. We must engage the broadest possible mobilisation of everyone involved in higher education, research and knowledge to contribute to training and research capacity building. The diaspora could prove pivotal in achieving this. 

A good starting point is starting national initiatives to connect local researchers with those who have left to work overseas. For example, in Ethiopia we have recently launched a web-based Network of Ethiopian Scholars-Global (NES-Global) to encourage free and open communication between those at home and abroad.

The virtual space is home to e-books and an e-journal and also acts as an information library or kiosk where Ethiopian universities can upload scientific materials.

Similar efforts could help build links with the diaspora from other parts of Africa — all it takes is some initiative.

Africa has a long history of division and fragmentation — from the European scramble for Africa and the thousands of communities that preceded it, to today’s states that, for the most part, remain fragile and aid-dependent.

It is time for us to join up the pieces — through networking — and work together to improve the quality, productivity, capability and use of knowledge to transform African societies, economies, politics and ecology.

Mammo Muchie is a South African national chair on innovation studies at The Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. He is also professor at Aalborg University, Denmark, and Senior Research Associate at Oxford University, UK.

This article was first published by SciDev.net  on 17 March 2010 under the title African networks needed to improve higher education. It is reproduced under creative commons licence.

Motshekga plans to overhaul the school system

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently briefed the media in Cape Town on plans the South African government’s human development cluster had to boost the quality of education.  She said her department was looking at rolling out scholar transport to pupils in rural areas and was in talks with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and the National Treasury to find ways to increase the amount of funding necessary to build new schools.

She also stressed that the commitment and hard work of teachers and school governing bodies is key to making schools more successful.

Other aspects of the plan includes enrolling all children for Grade R and increasing the number of Grade 12 students who pass matric exams and who qualify for university from 105 000 to 175 00 by 2014.

The Department also plans to increase the number of Grade 12 students who pass maths and science exams from 165 000 to 225 000 by 2014 and to double the number of learners in Grade 3, 6 and 9 in public schools who obtain the minimum acceptable marks.

Agreement has also been reached with with unions to reduce the number of strike hours. The administrative burden of continuous task assessment has been reduced too.

Learning and teaching packs for Grade R teachers, containing lesson plans, learners’ workbooks and story books among other things, has been distributed to all 13 900 schools that offer Grade R.

The Department has also introduced an assessment for grades 3, 6 and 9 in an effort to lay a sold foundation of learning and to measure the success of interventions in literacy and numeracy.

To read more go to the Bua News article on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!