By Proffesor Ndawonde
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has launched a unique science and engineering training institute, the Moses Kotane Institute, to improve science and technology fields in the province.
Speaking at the launch in Durban, Premier Sibusiso Ndebele said mathematics, science and technology programmes, to be rolled-out by the institute, will be consistent with pro-growth policies, and not oppose them.
"Science and technology represent a major opportunity for world development.
"However, if not consistent with pro-poor policies, science and technology may increase rather than diminish the existing inequalities,' the premier said.
According to the premier the institute comprehensively supports the government?s Agrarian Revolution by offering broad modules on agricultural science.
He said the BSC4 programme offered by the institute will target students from disadvantaged schools who attained full matric exemption, but do not meet the requirements to be admitted directly into the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at tertiary institutions.
These are students that would have done mathematics and science (Physical Science or Biology or Agricultural Science) at secondary school.
The new Moses Kotane Institute, he said, is a unique science and engineering training institute and would specialise mainly in building the skills of historically disadvantaged students.
He said science and technology should be used to assist South Africa to develop the know-how and expertise to be able to predict the build-up and onset of natural disasters.
He said this will nurture enough expertise to track weather patterns as they develop in the earth?s atmosphere, and take pre-emptive actions to minimise their disastrous effects on communities.
The institute, he said, has forged formal links with the National Department of Education which will officially regulate all programmes.
The eThekwini FET College, Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria respectively, will work closely with the institute by offering some parts of the modules.
The institute is expected to kick start its initial programmes next week with the start of the new school year.
The institute is named after struggle veteran Moses Kotane, who made an enormous contribution to educating South African freedom fighters who were in the former Soviet Union and in Tanzania.
Mr Kotane was a self-taught ruling part stalwart known worldwide for his meaningful contribution in the fight against apartheid.