Education

Education, best described as the process of imparting or receiving knowledge, is one of the highest priorities on the global agenda. Across the world, governments and organised groups are working to eradicate illiteracy in order to emancipate impoverished people groups. Education can take place in formal and informal settings, however, schools and learning institutions are the primary mediums through which people receive an education in modern society. Reading and writing are the foundations of formal education.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela.

As the impact of the recent teacher?s strike on matric results is still anxiously being debated and matric students frantically try to recoup lost weeks of study in the run-up to their final examinations

Naledi Pandor, the minister of education, says the workplace can be used as a way to speed up the provision of skills for the country

MEC for education in the Western Cape Cameron Dugmore has stated that he is looking to start an initiative linking grass-roots literacy and numeracy courses with the FET colleges in an attempt to try and speed up the process of addressing the crucial skills shortage currently hampering our country's growth

A report on trends in higher education has shown that the number of graduates in South Africa has grown over the a ten-year period from 542 398 to reach 1,18 million in the most recent report. The number of black graduates has doubled from 25% to reach 50%. However Education Minister Naledi Pandor noted the Saqa report showed that, " the majority of black graduates are in the social sciences and not in the engineering sciences and technology.'

Education Minister Naledi Pandor has announced what she terms a "significant investment" in higher education infrastructure at public universities. Institutions to benefit include the Universities of the Western Cape, Venda, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Tshwane University of Technology.

The Education Department's budget for the coming years includes an additional R2billion for universities and plans for a significant increase in the number of students. Plans announced this week forsee student numbers increasing from 728 000 to 820 000 over the next three years.

Apartheid and inadequate resources are no longer justifiable arguments to defend mediocrity, says Education Minister Naledi Pandor. Delivering the Department of Education?s budget speech, she urged South Africans to affirm excellence and reject mediocrity "in the interest of nation building, socio-economic development and true liberation.'

A public-private partnership with government aims to encourage long-term savings for education, as well as access to Further Education Training (FET) colleges and universities. The scheme will see the state match the regular monthly savings that parents invest for their children?s education at university or FET college.

An amount of $10 million (approx R69 million) has been set aside to increase educational opportunities for African learners over the next five years. The Coca Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) availed funds to expand the educational projects in underserved communities.

South African researchers now have the advantage of using massive computing power in their quest for new knowledge and applications. This is as a result of a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and its partners in creating the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), which is the first of its kind in the country.

African Universities should be on the forefront on research, education and the implementation of mechanisms that would prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, Education Minister Naledi Pandor. "Historically, our universities have enjoyed a high degree of independence in finding solutions to the challenges we face,' she said.

Although "tremendous strides' had been made in transforming higher education institutions, much still remained to be done, said Deputy Minister of Education Enver Surty. The deputy minister made this observation in Cape Town, at the Centre for Conflict Resolution’s seminar on Transformation in Higher Education.

A team of three students from the University of the Witwatersrand has won an international award for their innovation in technology. The students from the University’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering received a silver medal at the SIMagine awards in Barcelona, for their adaptation of the local Morabaraba game to a mobile phone game called Mobiraba(tm).

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s 2007 Budget will see R600 million going to bursaries at FET Colleges and R2,2 billion to the university sector. Universities will also benefit from a R60 million allocation to establish science research chairs at major universities.

The University of South Africa and the National Research Foundation will host a Post-Graduate Research Indaba, which aims to improve the state of postgraduate research in South Africa. The workshop aims to provide a platform for all stakeholders to reflect on issues affecting postgraduate research supervision and throughput at higher education institutions.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor has announced that 22 000 students have so far registered for the new National Certificate (Vocational) at public FET Colleges. This is against a target of 27 000 that the Department has for these new programmes.

South Africa plans to attract expatriate academics to share their skills in short exchange programmes and research projects, as an alternative to moving back to South Africa. "We need to look at repatriation in a flexible and pragmatic way. Repatriation does not only have to take the form of people coming back to live for good,' said Minister of Education Naledi Pandor.

South Africa’s Auditor-General Terence Nombembe has committed R3, 8 million to help the University of Fort Hare produce the country’s future crop of quality chartered accountants. The Auditor General’s office signed an agreement with the university to mark the beginning of a long-term partnership envisaged to see the AG financially supporting the university on an annual basis.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says higher education is a national resource that is fundamental to the growth and development of a nation and its people. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the University of South Africa's (Unisa) main campus for this academic year, the Deputy President said it was imperative for higher education to develop and generate the qualifications, competencies and skills that the nation needs to drive its development agenda.

The Universities of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg will collaborate on a series of projects to develop the City of Johannesburg and Gauteng, with a particular focus on FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup projects. A memorandum of understanding was to that effect was signed by Vice Chancellor of Wits Prof Loyiso Nongxa and his UJ counterpart Prof Ihron Rensburg.

The North West Education Department is to replace the management at Taletso College?s Mafikeng campus, as it failed to register last year?s students on time

The Education Minister has announced a ground-breaking partnership with a consortium of leading players in the construction sector.

The Portfolio Committee on Education is calling for written and verbal submissions on the Further Education and Training Colleges Bill.

About R1 million is expected to be raised in this year's Presidential Golf Challenge to be held in Cape Town on Saturday, to benefit the country's students.

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