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Naledi Pandor’s speech on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope

Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Science and technology recently gave a speech about the developments around South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. South Africa and Australia are the finalists in the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

The SKA is an internationally supported project to build the most powerful and technologically advanced research facility in the field of radio astronomy. It will utilise cutting edge technology in electronics, computing, network connectivity, material sciences and engineering. If this facility is constructed in Africa, it will catapult the Continent to the forefront of science for years to come.

In preparation for hosting of the SKA telescope, South Africa has introduced a comprehensive human capital development programme that supports students across the continent to study physics, astronomy, engineering and ICT. This programme has been extremely successful in attracting young African students into science and engineering and in producing a cohort of postgraduates.

To read Pandor’s full speech on defenceWeb Click Here!

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SA’s Department of Basic Education reveals its ICT plans

South Africa’s Department of Basic Education is aiming to utilise technology as a developmental tool for teacher education as well as integrating it into the school curriculum, Mr Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Basic Education said recently at a gala dinner in Cape Town, at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Worldwide Innovative Education Forum Awards.

Surty said that an inter-ministerial committee had met at the end of October to sign an agreement that binds the Minister of Basic Education, The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, MECs and the ministers of other departments in the achievement of certain goals. While there was a commitment to the provision of quality basic education, Information Communication Technology (ICT) was highlighted.

The commitment is that by 2015 every learner who has passed grade 3 will have had exposure to ICT.

Surty also referred to the undersea cables linking Africa to the world, and vice versa, and said “technology has been taken to the heart of Africa…”

Currently South Africa has about 26 000 schools, of which only 3  in 10 have access to technology and only 1 in 10 schools has access to the Internet, mainly through dial up connections. The government is trying to roll out the Teacher Laptop Initiative which provides teachers with a R130 subsidy per month towards the purchase of a laptop, but the use of technology in teaching methodology is yet to be formally incorporated into the teacher training curriculum.

Surty then referred to the Microsoft Partners in Learning Programme, through which the Department of Basic Education has received R93 million in free software via a national schools’ agreement. More than 25 000 teachers have been trained using the programme’s Teacher Training curriculum and the aim is to foster the development of 21st century skills among learners.

To read the original article by Primarashni Gower on Mail and Guardian Online Click Here!