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UP rector opens Groenkloof Campus Infrastructure Development

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, UP principal and vice chancellor, left and Prof Irma Eloff, dean of Faculty of Education, right

During the recent opening of the new infrastructure development at the Groenkloof Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP), Professor Cheryl de la Rey, vice chancellor and principal stressed the importance of producing quality teachers who will be able to excel in the subjects that they teach. De la Rey also stressed her concern about the decline in the numbers of teachers in the country and the importance of reversing this trend. She added that education was the means to transform the country.

According to De la Rey investment in education is vital and that UP has to be responsive to the needs of South Africa and the African continent

 Some of the major building projects include 3 new high technology lecture theatres with 350; 350 and 400 seats; an open air amphi theatre (boma) next to the Groenkloof dam; lifts; bathrooms and a special passage for people with disabilities; science laboratories; 121 computer working stations; bathrooms and the upgrading of many facilities on the  Groenkloof Campus.

New lecture theatre

Boma

 

 

 

 

 

This new infrastructure development  will provide the necessary cutting edge equipment and facilities needed to ensure the production of quality teachers.

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SA government eyeing free tuition to boost skills shortages

In a recent cabinet lekgotla the South African government agreed on a number of resolutions to address skills shortages. The lekgotla noted the mismatch between the supply and demand of skills for specific educational categories in the light of the unemployment rate that is expanding.

Deputy Basic Education Minister Enver Surty gave feedback from the lekgotla. He stressed that the labour market is plagued by skills shortages that constrains the country’s economic growth potential. Keeping this in mind the lekotla resolved to take action on various key matters including:

  • examining the possibility of covering the full cost of study for (poor) students in scarce skills areas in all years of study; 
  • guarding against downgrading the social science programme provision;
  • supporting post-graduate students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to develop a new generation of academics in addition to National Research Foundation initiatives;
  • intensifying efforts to promote research and development in higher education institutions;
  • seeing to it that students that have completed their studies pay back their loans so that other students can also be supported;
  • giving urgent attention to the problem of accommodation in the higher education system (only 18.5 % of students are accommodated in university residences)
  • ensuring that all infrastructure programmes are linked to skills training and workplace experiential learning;
  • strengthening and repositioning Public Service Sector Seta (PSeta) to play a more effective role in skills training for public service
  • seeing to it that all government departments pay skills levies, as required by law;
  • expanding the intake of interns into the public service, municipalities and state-owned enterprises; and
  • utilising training within the public service as largest single employer in the country.

This posting was based on a Sapa article published on Fin24 on 23 august. To read the original Sapa article Click Here!

Education summit to tackle challenges in Africa

On 11 July, the South African President, Jacob Zuma, will host a special education summit. The event will mark the culmination of the ‘1 Goal Education for All Campaign’ – a partnership between Fifa and civil society organisations across the world. The aim of the campaign: to get the 72-million kids of primary-school age currently denied an education into decent quality schooling by 2015.

To read more go to Bua News Online by Clicking Here!

Also read Kevin Watkins’ article on the summit in Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here!

What is transformation in Higher Education? Nzimande

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training addressed the issue of transformation of South African universities at the occasion of the University of the Free State public management memorial lecture, held on 3 September 2009. To read a transcript of his speech, published on PoliticsWeb Click Here!

Some Challenges Facing the South Africa Higher Education System

The South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande delivered a lecture on the Challenges facing South African Higher Education on 14 August 2009 at the 250th seminar of the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities.

For a transcript of the lecture on PoliticsWeb Click Here!

Impact of the digital era on Higher Education

“Lecturing at universities will change dramatically in the new digital era and the focus will also be more on m-learning (teaching via cell phone)”. This was the viewpoint of Dr Brenda Gourley, rector of the Open University in the UK,  at a recent forum discussion of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) in Pretoria. 

During the discussion Gourley also emphasized the importance of access to broadband for South Africa. Without broadband students in South Africa will fall behind more and more.

Universities will have to prepare for fundamental transformation. This includes the manner in which research is being done. New suppliers are constantly entering the education sector and are changing the rules of how things should be done. She named the company BP (not the petroleum company) which targets students that do not get enough personal support from a conventional university. Classes are getting bigger and bigger, and students get less support. This company grew by 40 % by presenting extra classes for students.

Referring to Google Gourley said, ” You do not go to the library, the library comes to you”

“People should get away from the notion that technology is just there to support teaching. It is much more, and has enabled communication, collaboration, and participation between people that were not possible before”

Gourley further spoke about the changing circumstances in which children want to be educated. “They want to have control over their learning environment and educators must realize that games are an integral part of the strategy to reach them”.

She also said the costs of current teaching models at universities worldwide are difficult to justify. Every university has its own versions of similar types of courses.

University management faces difficult times ahead and will have to think innovative about how they will support students, how they will make provision for formal and informal learning, and how they will allow peer-group learning without sacrificing quality.

Gourley also reitterated that the increasing availability of material on the Internet will impact on lecturers.  If a lecturer’s classes are not acceptable (of good standard), students will just go to Google to find a better one.

To read the Afrikaans article in Beeld Newspaper on this event Click Here!

Story writing exhibition at University of Pretoria’s Education Library

As part of Library Week Celebrations the Education Library of the University of Pretoria recently hosted an exhibition of Stories written and compiled by Early Childhood Education students in 2008. These stories were entered in a competition sponsored by Oxford University Press. The stories form part of a Story Reading Project which has run for a number of years as an innovation outcome of the Early Literacy Module in the Early Childhood Education Programme in the Faculty of Education, at University of Pretoria. picture-033

Dr Ina Joubert who heads up this project received an Education

Innovation award in 2006 for this project. The creativity of the students were really amazing and of the highest standard!

 

Sonja Delport and members of the library team at the Education library worked really hard to ensure that the exhibition was a great success.   

 

irma-eloff-2

The exhibition was officially opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof Irma Eloff on 18 March 2009 and ran till 27 March 2009. In her opening address for the exhibition the dean read a poem by Strickland Gillilan to emphasize the importance of reading to the little child:

 

Richer Than Goldpicture-027
“You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be —

I had a mother who read to me.”

 

To see photos of the exhibition on Slideshare Click Here!