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Education will be the key to the SKA rollout

In a recent article by Duncan Alfreds, he stressed the critical importance of education standards to the rollout of science programmes, as well as the need to accelerate the development of technical skills that will be needed for South Africa to deliver its share of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope to be erected in the Northern Cape Province.  

Currently the South African education sector does not deliver graduates with the critical skills to help in the rollout of the project

70.2 % of students out of a total of 496 090 passed matric in 2011, and of these only 24.3 % obtained a university entrance.

Prof Nithaya Chetty, Group Executive of Astronomy at the National Research Foundation (NRF), and researcher at the University of Pretoria, stressed in an interview with News24 that although universities are seeing an increase in number of applications their abilities are below par, especially mathematical skills, which will be essential if the country wants to reach  its targets. He feels there should be accelerated programmes to teach technical skills to ensure that there are support staff in place to support engineers in projects like the SKA.

To read more go to Duncan Alfreds’ article on News 24 by Clicking Here!

New ASSaf Report, “Scholarly Books: their production, use and evaluation in South Africa today”

A new ASSAf (Academy of Science of South Africa) report, released this month, argues that the Department of Higher Education and Training needs more urgently to encourage and support the writing and publishing of scholarly books, including how they are ‘weighted’ when the department calculates higher education institutions’ research output subsidies.

To read Sue Blaine’s article on the report in the Weekender newspaper Click
Here!
 

The report titled Scholarly Books: their production, use and evaluation in South Africa today, can be downloaded from ASSAf’s site by Clicking Here!