Tech set to improve maths and science results in SA schools

In the next decade, 80% of all jobs will require skills in maths, science and technology.* In order to keep up with changing times, South Africa needs to invest in methods to drastically improve its current ranking as one of the worst in the world for math and science education.**

 

In response to this challenge, the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial governments are in talks to pilot the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) learning solutions in selected government schools. This new way of teaching and learning through Virtual Reality helps to close the gap between knowledge and understanding. Learners can experience the immersive VR world in which they can travel to New York to see the Statue of Liberty, take a virtual train ride to learn about the concept of relative motion or step inside a green leaf to see the production of oxygen through photosynthesis.

 

Initial results from the inclusion of this technology in South African classrooms has led to positive development in learner behaviour and attitude with 70% of learners indicating that the addition of VR to their syllabi would motivate them to take science and maths related subjects in the future. In addition, 98% stated that learning these subjects through VR has increased their confidence in their abilities.***

 

“If you plot historic innovation on a timeline, the results are astounding. Innovation is happening more rapidly than ever before,” says Tanya Jackman, Event Director of EduWeek Africa. “This has led to a massive shift in education practices worldwide. Suddenly, with the use of technology, we are able to pick up learner’s problems long before any human intervention could; enabling educators to meet learners where they are and allowing them to learn at their own pace,” she adds.

 

“We as educators need to develop an attitude of ‘lifelong learning’ allowing us to constantly adapt and adopt innovations within our classrooms and teaching practices. It is imperative for us as a country to facilitate and support these developments as effectively as possible,” says Elijah Mhlanga, Chief Director for Communications at the Department of Basic Education.

 

On 15 and 16 June 2018, Spintelligent, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and other sponsors, is hosting EduWeek Africa at the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg. Exhibitors and guest speakers will tackle issues and solutions surrounding ‘Education 4.0 for Industry 4.0’. Content will address education’s response to increased automation and data exchange in most industries and the creation of careers that do not yet exist. Visitors can expect hands-on-experience of education’s 170 latest innovations such as:

 

  • Veative’s VR learning solution that enables learning through Virtual Reality;
  • Edit Microsystems’ eSight glasses, which enables the visually impaired to see;
  • OverDrive’s professionally narrated audio Read-Along Audio Books, which aid in learning to read;
  • Retrain’s all-inclusive differentiated-learning-techniques assessment and training instrument that allows educators to tailor their teaching-style to suit their students, to name a few.

 

“Continued investment in educational technology will enable South Africa to become an economic global competitor and facilitate the bridging of gaps within our country, and between us and the rest of the world,” concludes Mhlanga.

 

For more information on EduWeek and for registration details, visit http://www.educationweek.co.za.


Rural, township economies vital for transformation

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Government has identified rural and township economies as vehicles for achieving radical economic transformation.

The face of this transformation is the creation of employment for the youth, empowerment of local businesses and inclusive growth, said Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe, on Monday.

He added that the dti has prioritised its Rural and Township Industrial Economic Programme, in order to boost enterprise development in various regions of the country.

Magwanishe was speaking at the industrial dialogue breakfast session and provincial seminar on the Rural and Township Industrial Economy that was hosted by the dti in Kabokweni, Mpumalanga.

The purpose of the event which was attended by business and industry leaders was to provide an opportunity for constructive engagement between government and key stakeholders on interventions that are required to grow and sustain township and rural economies.

According to the deputy minister, the dti has prioritised its Rural and Township Industrial Economic Programme, as part of the implementation of the department's Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme.

One of the objectives of the Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme is to support socio-economic and industrial development in township economies. It also ensures effective collaboration between small and medium enterprises and multinationals in the region, said Magwanishe.

He also announced that the dti was working with the Mpumalanga Economic Development Agency and the Development Bank of Southern Africa in a scoping exercise to determine the urgent needs of the Kabokweni Industrial Park as part of the department's plan to revitalise it.

The first phase of the revitalisation will involve the upgrading of the park's security features. These include high-security lights and gates, construction and erection guard houses, he added.

The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in Mpumalanga, Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, said the seminar would give concrete meaning to the concept of rural and township economy as the base of radical socio-economic transformation agenda.

“The idea of the township economy has once again gained so much traction in the country and our province. While there is recognition that spatial location determines the types of business activity for one area or another, there is no denying that we must revive the townships from the economic margins of despondency,” added Kholwane. – SAnews.gov.za

Gauteng adopts smart measures to fast track infrastructure projects

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo on Tuesday unveiled the province’s multibillion rand project portfolio to be delivered in the next three years.

The portfolio is made up of 340 projects valued at about R4.5 billion, with R1.7 billion being allocated for the 2018/19 financial year.

Speaking at a media briefing to unveil the project portfolio, MEC Mamabolo warned that during the delivery of the projects, under-performance and poor quality will not be tolerated.

To ensure that projects are carried out, MEC Mamabolo said his department will use drones to monitor progress at the various sites of construction.

MEC Mamabolo said the pressures posed by rapid urbanisation and migration have resulted in the escalation of demand for social infrastructure services such as schools, libraries, health facilities and community centres.

“As the Department of Infrastructure Development, we are proud to say that the last two years have been the most testing as we laboured to explore long term solutions to resolve construction and implementation challenges.

“We have had to roll up our sleeves and put down systems and processes that would prepare us for the future,” MEC Mamabolo said.

How the pipeline works

The Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has introduced the most innovative project pipeline portfolio. The pipeline, described as a multi-billion, multi-year infrastructure project portfolio (MMIPP) is planned for implementation over a period of three years.

The project pipeline will be used to prioritise projects that are ready for implementation. They will be tracked and monitored to improve project management processes, and to speed up delivery to Gauteng communities.

MEC Mamabolo explained that all the pipeline projects were subject to the Project Readiness Matrix (PRM), an innovative tool designed by the department to assist in the assessment of all the critical and stage specific Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS) requirements, before projects are considered for inclusion in the pipeline.

“The project pipeline profiles projects according to their various stages of development, enabling the department to better prioritise and manage its portfolio with greater efficiency,” MEC Mamabolo said.

According to the MEC, all the identified pipeline projects are classified into three categories, with the first known as ‘Platinum,’ which is a list of 63 projects planned for delivery during the current 2018/19 financial year.

The 63 Platinum Projects are valued at R459 million. They have been vetted against the IDMS guidelines to ensure their delivery period is not delayed or extended.

The second category is ‘Silver’ consisting of 188 projects, with projects planned for delivery during the 2019/20 financial year. The projects have an estimated allocation of about R966 million.

The last classification is ‘Coal’ and consists of 89 projects that are planned for delivery in the 2021/22 financial year, with an estimated allocation of about R260 million.

MEC Mamabolo said the classification and profiling will greatly enhance transparency and accountability of project performance for both management, client departments, other key stakeholders as well as communities.

“The department will also be in a position to improve its reporting by ensuring that all information is gathered from one source.

“Most importantly, the monitoring of project performance will further enable the department to proactively manage compliance issues largely residing in other spheres of government, such as local municipalities,” MEC Mamabolo said. – SAnews.gov.za

 

Police to tackle spectator hooliganism at grassroots level

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Police Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi says the growing incidents of hooliganism at sports events, particularly soccer games, is a matter of national security that also needs to be addressed at grassroots level.

The Deputy Minister said this when the South African Police Service (SAPS), National Soccer League and the Department of Sports and Recreation appeared before a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees on Sports and Recreation and Police on Tuesday to give a briefing on the events that led to violent scenes at the recent Nedbank Cup semi-final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

“The question of growing hooliganism in South Africa in terms of soccer and other sporting codes is a national security threat [and] if we leave it at this point, it can grow [and become a problem like it has] in… other countries. That is our standpoint in terms of national security,” Mkongi said.

He said the SAPS would, over and above enforcing the Safety at Sports & Recreational Events Act (SASREA), also look at raising awareness through educational campaigns.

This, Mkongi said, will include rolling out school safety campaigns as hooliganism can be traced back to school sports grounds.

The briefing comes after a cup tie that saw Kaizer Chiefs being knocked out of the semi-finals by Free State Stars, resulting in unhappy fans, who had been calling for coach Steve Komphela to resign. The fans invaded the pitch and attacked security personnel and vandalised property.

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa, who was also at the briefing, told MPs that she would make a call to the President to establish a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the growing trend of violent acts at sports gatherings, among others.

Briefing the committee, Major General Singh, an Executive Manager at the office of the National Police Commissioner, said prior to the game, which took place on 21 April 2018, a risk assessment was conducted during the application for the categorization of the cup game.

Singh said during the application, the Premier Soccer League stated that there was no history of crowd clashing incidents or violence between spectators of participating teams or at the venue itself.

But the SA Police Service’s Crime Intelligence threat assessment report identified a risk of a possible pitch invasion, sale of illegal parking tickets, traffic congestion and increased crime in the vicinity of the stadium.

SAPS, Metro Police, private security and PSL security were deployed to strategic points in and around the stadium.

Singh said a few minutes before the game ended, Kaizer Chiefs supporters started throwing objects towards the technical team area before all hell broke loose.

Police and security personnel circled the players, match officials and technical staff to ensure safe passage into the change rooms. According to an incident report, 21 people were injured, including one SAPS member, one metro officer, four private security personnel members and 15 spectators.

TV cameras and speakers were damaged and stadium chairs were set alight.

Four suspects have since been arrested and released on bail and are set to appear in court on 25 May.

In his briefing to the committee, Dr Irvin Khoza, the chairperson of the National Soccer League, said the executive committee remained shocked, disappointed and concerned following the “unacceptable events” at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“We would like to place on record that the league takes very seriously those specific legislative responsibilities placed upon us to ensure the safety of the millions of law-abiding, valid ticket-holding members of the public, players, officials and match support staff, who attend league sanctioned professional football matches across our country,” he said.

Dr Khoza said the league would do everything possible within its powers to assist Parliament and government to address the increasing trend of violent and chaotic acts of criminality at football matches.

He said the league has learnt of the proposed call by Minister Xasa for an official broader inquiry to be established to probe the Moses Mabhida incident, as well as previous similar incidents.

“We wish to respectfully state that the National Soccer League supports the proposed calling of such an inquiry. The league also respectfully calls on [portfolio the committee], if it has not already done so, to allow the Minister to convene such and inquiry,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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