In an interview he gave to the Pretoria News yesterday, University of Free State Vice Chancellor and Rector, Professor Jonathan Jansen said that despite the crisis the education sector is facing, union pressures and nationalist sentiments will always trump common sense when it comes to hiring the best teachers regardless of where they come from.
Speaking to John Robbie this morning, Prof Jansen said that this is not only reflection on the teachers in the system but on the politics around them and this support of incompetence by teachers unions is what is keeping us back.
Prof Jansen said that we’ve stagnated and even gone backwards in terms of our Maths and Science pass rate and that we have got to “ask ourselves, what have we been doing for the past 21 years to fix this.”
Asked about his view on foreign teachers, Professor Jansen says:
I love Zimbabwean teachers. I would hire a Zimbabwean teacher, just on paper ahead of a South African teacher. They are better trained in subject matter – when you look at township schools with top Maths and Science results, 9 out of 10 it’s a Zimbabwean teacher. Secondly, their work ethic is different. They don’t come with the long history of dysfunction and disruption. They come to school to work and they deliver. At the end of the work is not about how many teachers you employ, it’s whether the children get a deal out of those who teach.
— Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Free State Vice Chancellor and Rector
The first green initiative from founding company Rethaka, set up by Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane, the pair, now 22, are taking full advantage of the overflowing plastic waste in their region and neighbouring communities to upcycle it into 100% recycled plastic schoolbags for local disadvantaged school children.
Not only are the bags made from recycled materials, helping with the environmental issue in the country, but it doubles as a light and features reflective materials, providing a safety aspect so the children are more visible walking home in rush hour traffic.
With a solar panel positioned in the flap of the bag, charging as the children walk to school, it subsequently allows sufficient light walking home and enough to finish their homework in the evenings. Many households have to rely on candle light after dusk, but these are often rationed, so the school bag will also impact positively on family life too.
“One of the first obstacles these kids face if not being able to finish their homework. If a child doesn’t have access to light then as soon as the sun goes down there is not time to do anything but sleep,” Co-founder, Thato Kgatlhanye, explains.
The two girls carried out a 6-month trial period at the beginning of last year, distributing the recycled bags to schools across the Rustenburg region, and producing 1,000 bags from the period August to December.
Each bag currently costs R250 (US$20) to manufacture, which helps to cover both the production and employee costs. Producing up to 20 bags a day in its workshop, the company presently employs eight full time workers, with the girls hoping to increase this to 12 by the end of the year to help meet its target to produce 10,000 bags this year alone.
Helping to distribute these upcycled school bags to children, the company has targeted and teamed up with local individuals to achieve funding and corporate social investment in a bid to sponsor the production of each bag, ensuring the process remains sustainable with plenty of room to grow and expand into surrounding African communities.
Of course, it is not always easy to start and run a business, especially at the age the girls are and with a subject so integral and prominent to the region. Challenges have arisen along the way, particularly with the lack of infrastructure for plastic recycling but a quick solution was to simply create this themselves which has resulted in a positive and sustainable outcome.
The children have been encouraged to collect and bring in the plastics themselves and feel involved in the whole process from the very beginning to the end.
“The plastic comes to our workshop where we process them into a textile, sew it up with industrial sewing machines and then we distribute,” Kgatlhanye explains.
The concept of recycling and upcycling, although a foreign concept to so many children in the region, has helped to generate interest and knowledge. “Kids are picking up litter around the community,” explains Kgatlhanye.
With distribution underway, the recycled school bag is really a testament to both Thato and Rea and their evident entrepreneurial skills and flair for innovation, even from such a young age. Now clear role models for the children they are helping to provide support to, Thato Kgatlhanye has been recognised for her business ventures; selected for an internship in New York to work alongside the American best-selling author, Seth Godin and in 2014, she was selected as one of the 18 South African social entrepreneurs to attend the 10-day Red Bull Amaphiko Academy.
Perhaps most impressively though, Kgatlhanye was selected as the 2014 first runner-up of the Anzisha Prize, winning $15,000 in prize money.
In an online Q&A session held earlier this year on the Anzisha Prize’s Facebook page, Kgatlhanye explained: “My advice is simple: bootstrap and find competitors to enter your business idea into. Firstly it is a great way to get free business support and advice. Secondly, it’s a great networking opportunity to meet high-profile business people – who usually judge these competitions – and potentially get mentorship from them. Finally, if you end up a winner, you will not only get a cash prize but also get some PR out of it.
“Get a business coach, be honest, leave the ego at the door and hustle,” she concluded.
Looking to the future for this young company and both girls hope to develop further products using 100% recycled materials, including different bag designs and raincoats. With major clients including PwC and Standard Bank already on-board, venturing into other communities is assuredly something we will be seeing in the not so distant future for Rethaka and its ingenious school bag concept.
A new set of regulations threatens the heart of our internet freedom. A massive public outcry could stop them and save our internet. But public consultations end in 48 hours — sign now and share with everyone everywhere:
Dear friends across South Africa,
A new set of regulations threatens the very essence of our internet freedom. They want to police and crack down on our digital democracy — but we are thousands of South Africans getting this email and we have the power to bring down their barricades.
But we only have 48 hours to do it.
If the Film and Publication Board’s new internet regulations are implemented, they’d have the right to review and classify almost every blog, video, and personal website — even Avaaz campaigns like this one. Think apartheid-era censorship , reloaded and super-charged for an all-out assault on our digital freedoms.
Public consultations end this week , and the FPB is on the back foot because their regulations have been so widely ridiculed — a massive viral response could finally pull the plug on these dangerous regulations.
To make it happen, all of us need to sign and share urgently — Avaazers make 1% of the internet users in South Africa so if each of us gets just one person to sign, we can reach 2%. If each of us gets 2 people to sign, we can get to 3%, etc etc. Sign now and share on Facebook, Twitter, email .. everywhere:
Practically speaking it would be almost impossible for these rules to be enforced all the time. But they could be used to selectively block specific types of information , control what’s made public, and even criminalise certain users. In addition, people wanting to publish online would have to buy a costly subscription, limiting who can post on the web and what information we see.
The FPB says its regulations are designed to protect children and citizens from harmful content. But while protection is important, there are already laws designed to do that — these ne w rules would only serve to stifle expression and empower those who’d do anything to increase secrecy in our country.
Organisations like Right2Know are doing all they can to block this onslaught, and it’s having a real impact. The FPB has already been forced to acknowledge that it’s regulations need to be reworked — but our community could deal the final blow and topple this juggernaut for good. Sign now and share everywhere you can think of…
As Avaaz members we all know the internet can be a mighty force for exposing the truth and creating positive change in the world. Aside from our amazing humanity and love, there’s one thing that’s connected this community, enabling us to protect our planet, our rights, and our democracy — that’s our internet. It’s at the very root of who we are as a vibrant, powerful movement — and we can’t let it be muzzled.
With hope and endless determination,
Mike, David, Alice and the whole team at Avaaz
- The FPB’s latest draft policy is about sex and censorship (Daily Maverick)
- FPB admits SA’s Draft Internet Regulations “Need More Clarity” (Htxt.Africa)
- Electronic Frontier Foundation calls FPB’s new Internet censorship law ‘worst in Africa’
- Africa’s worst new Internet Censorship Law: Everything you don’t want to know – but need to do
A third tier of higher education, targeting out-of-school youngsters and adults with no prospect of accessing vocational and technical colleges and universities, has been established by the Department of Higher Education.
Community education and training colleges (CETC) are new types of institutions which are a result of merged public adult learning centres.
The establishment of this tier adds a foundation level to the existing technical and vocational education training colleges (TVET) and universities (which includes universities of technology).
Nine CETCs have been named nationally following the mergers of hundreds of public adult learning centres.
Minister Blade Nzimande announced the national policy on community education and training colleges which provides the framework for the move in a Government Gazette earlier this month.
According to the policy, the CETCs will primarily target youngsters and adults who, for various reasons, did not complete their schooling or who never attended school.
The colleges will focus on the skills shortages of the communities in which they operate, and provide the General Education and Training Certificate: Adult Basic Education Training) at national qualifications Level 1, equivalent to Grade 9.
Saturday ArgusRead more
Myths about Reading by Janet Dorman
Myth # 1 Children who learn to read before they go to school will be bored when they go to school
This is not a myth.
Children who learn to read before they go to school will be bored when they go to school. But so will the kids who did not learn to read before they went to school. All kids are bored when they get to school.
This is because school is boring.
They enter school thrilled to be there and full of anticipation but unfortunately what awaits them is not what they expect. Once the thrill of the new backpack and the school bus has worn off most first graders settle down to the reality that school is boring. They are rarely given a choice whether they want to go to school or not so they learn to accept the fact that they spend many hours each day waiting for recess, waiting for lunch and thrilled when they can at last return home.
The question is not who will be bored but rather who will handle the boredom the best. Very sharp first grade teachers often give the child who can read the opportunity to go to the library and read while the teachers teach all the rest of the kids to read. This is a wonderful thing for the child who can read. Even brighter teachers enlist the help of the six-year-old who can read to help teach the other kids especially the children who will be struggling to learn even a few words. This is a superb chance for our little reader to really make a difference and to strengthen his own ability along the way.
The children who cannot read when they get to school will suffer through – some of them learning to read a few hundred words by the end of the year. 35 % will not master those few hundred words and will range from frustrated to crushed and demoralized by the experience.
It is good, not bad, to be able to read when you get to school. It helps the child to be “school-proof”.
Myth #2 Teaching a child to read before school will make him a nasty little genius
Well, at least this myth acknowledges that children who learn to read when they are young will gain information and, as a result, have increased intellectual growth as compared with a child who is not given this opportunity. This is true.
When a child is given the ability to read he can explore the world through books. He is no longer completely dependent on adults and can make his explorations all by himself.
Yes, he gains a lot of knowledge this way as any good reader does. He also gains confidence in his own ability to learn.
Yes, he will take that knowledge into school with him. However, this myth assumes (incorrectly) that knowledge leads to nastiness.
The good news is that it does not.
Children are not naturally nasty. Children are naturally kind and generous unless a nasty adult spends a lot of time being nasty to them and teaching them to be nasty to others.
Those children who have spent a lot of time nose-to-nose with mother or father at home learning to read also gain a great deal from this experience socially.
They are confident and happy with themselves. It is our experience over half a century that these children are much more likely to be the peacemakers in school. They are the ones befriending the kid that others are picking on. The bullies are those children who do not feel confident and happy. It is a simple as that.
Myth # 3 Very young children cannot learn to read because they have a short attention span
Look carefully at an 18-month-old and see what he does. Often he drives everyone crazy.
Because the tiny child will not stop being curious. Little children cannot be dissuaded or disciplined out of their desire to learn – no matter how hard we try. The child wants to learn about the lamp, and the coffee cup, and the electric socket, and the newspaper and everything else in the room which means that the lamp gets knocked over, the coffee gets spilled and the newspaper gets shredded. We conclude that the tiny child is hyperactive and unable to pay attention.
But the truth is that the child pays attention to everything.
There are only five pathways into the brain. We can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. The very young child will use all of these pathways in learning about the world. The child will not ask to leave a room until he has checked out everything in that room that is new. He will look at things that are out of reach, he may listen to an object if he can, he will certainly touch any item that he is permitted to touch and he may even taste or smell things that seem to merit such inspection.
We adults watch this impressive display of curiosity and experimentation. What do we conclude? We often conclude that the child has a short attention span when in fact the child is paying attention (real attention) to everything in the room. Tiny children have superb attention, interest and enthusiasm to learn. When we offer reading words to the tiny child he will gobble them up at a rate that is truly astonishing.Read more
by Deneesha Pillay
Statistics SA figures on the cost of education indicate consumers who have children will come under financial pressure.
The cost of education rose by 9.3% in March compared to March last year. This is 5.3% higher than the headline inflation figure of 4% year-on-year for the same month, according to the statistics SA data. The data was based on fees charged by schools and tertiary institutions.
Education inflation consistently outstripped inflation, said statistics SA. It said: “South African households will have to make more room in their budgets to pay for rising tuition fees.”
Old Mutual estimated that if a child started Grade R this year, a complete education — including primary school, high school and three years of university — would cost just less than R1m for public school tuition or R2.2m for private school tuition (in nominal terms).
Statistics SA acknowledged — as has been said by unions calling for free tertiary education — that rising costs were a barrier to education.
The agency’s latest General Household Survey shows that 33% of individuals up to the age of 24 cited a lack of money as the reason for not attending an educational institution.
Broken down by province, the figure was 45% in KwaZulu-Natal and as low as 21% in the Western Cape. Although the Northern Cape exhibited a 59% increase in education costs between 2010 and this year, only 22% of those aged 5–24 indicated a lack of money as a barrier to education.
The weak rand was identified as a factor that increased the cost of imported books and materials.
Statistics SA’s report on the financial status of higher education institutions showed expenses increased 12% in 2013 compared with 2012, increasing from R41.4bn to R46.2bn.
source: The Herald / Business DayRead more
Collective Investment Scheme Advertising, Social Media Ownership, Local Government IT Controls & BBBEE Codes Extension
August has been a busy month for the firm. The firm’s joint presentation, with Grant Thornton on Information Security, at the Mobile Government Conference two weeks ago, was well received.
September is also going to be a busy month. The firm will be presenting daily seminars at the Showbiz, Entertainment and Arts Conference in Johannesburg on 9 and 10 September. The firm will also be presenting a paper at the Lex Informatica – SA Cyberlaw / ICT Conference 2014 on 25 and 26 September.
The firm will be hosting the inaugural PPM Family MTB Day at the Big Red Barn in Johannesburg on 21 September 2014. Invitations have been sent out already, but we have reserved two invitations for two people, their partners and kids, if any. To stand a chance at winning the invitations, follow us and like the PPM Family MTB Day post on either Google+ or LinkedIn. We’ll let you know if you’re one of the lucky ones by 7 September 2014
Please note that the articles on our website are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Should you require advice, we suggest that you contact a suitably qualified attorney.
And, While You’re at It, Make Someone’s Day
When talking to customer service, call centers, tech support, secretaries or sales reps on the phone, you’re at their mercy on what they’ll do for you–and how fast. Here are tiny tips for getting the best, speediest and most pleasant service he/she has to give.
First thing, give YOUR name. That personalizes it and, who knows, she may think you’re a VIP whose name she’s supposed to know.
When he barks, “Please hold,” don’t just grumble “okay.” Say “Of course, take your time.” (He’ll be shocked and want to come back much sooner!)
If you’re a little slow giving information she needs, say, “You must have tremendous patience to do this job.” (She appreciates the rare compliment and now wants to help you all the more.)
Ask his name so he feels responsible. Be sure to preface your request with “You’re great. May I ask your name?” to assuage paranoia about being reported. And, now that you know his name, he’s more anxious to solve your problem. His job—and a good employee’s pride–often depends on it.
End your conversation with, “Great service!” Or “Thanks for your excellent help.” Now you’ve made his/her day in a tough often thankless job.