“Education is the mother of all professions”, this is the adage that continues to provide inspiration to countless educators across the world who tirelessly serve the profession with commitment and passion. Educators affect learners’ lives in a positive and profound way; they shape their minds and lay solid foundations for their future career paths. Most educators are not in it for money but see teaching as a calling. As agents for social change they believe theirs is a profession that requires them to go beyond the call of duty. They say they find it immensely fulfilling and rewarding to see their former learners succeeding in their various spheres of influence and making a meaningful contribution to society. It is no exaggeration that virtually every successful person owes it to his or her educator who was always there and willing to lend a hand. In the context of South Africa, the role of educators is a bit demanding as the curriculum has been reconfigured to promote some of the key Constitutional principles. Educators have to ensure they teach learners to understand the importance of critical societal issues such as racial reconciliation, social cohesion, social justice and democratic values. Although educators are passionate and keen to implement the prescribed syllabus, the practical realities and challenges that they encounter every day in the classrooms make it difficult for them to fulfil these objectives. On every given day, educators find themselves having to deal with a range of socio-economic challenges such as poverty, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, overcrowding, poor infrastructure and other related challenges that directly impact on their learners’ performance. Two recent violent incidents highlight the difficulties educators have to deal with: in Zeerust in the North West, a learner stabbed his teacher to death while in Mpumalanga another learner attacked a driver of a school bus whilst the vehicle was in motion. . . .
As the world begins to prepare itself in various industries for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the use of advanced technology the aerospace and defence industry is no different. The aerospace and defence sectors have been leaders with the use of smart manufacturing. According to research by Capgemini, 62% of aerospace and defence companies had a smart manufacturing initiative as of March 2017, putting aerospace ahead of not only the automotive sector (50%) but also energy and utilities (42%), consumer goods (40%) and life sciences and pharmaceuticals (37%) in adoption of the digital factory. In this light, Star Hero Media Group, in association with the Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo (AAD), will be hosting the inaugural annual Combat Aircraft Conference AFRICA 2018 on Friday 21 September 2018 at the Air Force Base Waterkloof, Pretoria. This conference will be the first of its kind in Africa and will form part of the AAD Expo, Africa's only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show and is rated amongst the top six exhibitions in the world. The overarching theme of the conference is: “The South African defence industry collaborating on a global scale,” with the aim of creating a platform for South African and Global OEMs to showcase airborne systems and products, aerospace engineering and design, reconnaissance and situation awareness manufacturing and development, detect and defend innovation. The event will bring together 200 delegates in aerospace and defence and allow local industry an opportunity to network with leading local and international industry players, and is supported by Paramount Advanced Technologies, Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association of South Africa, ARMSCO, Leonardo, Denel Dynamics, Hensoldt Optronics, Rohde & Schwarz and Tunnel Radio. The conference will also be used to launch the innovative capability of South African weapon system integration on light combat . . .
Private-public partnerships may significantly help implement key infrastructure projects in education. South Africa reacted with shock to the recent death of Lumka Mketwa, a five-year old learner at Luna Primary School in Bizana in the Eastern Cape. Lumka was discovered missing when the driver of her school transport did not see her among the group he usually picks up after school. After a frantic search, she was found later that night, drowned in the pit latrine of the school. Lumka’s death was all the more heart-rending for its circumstances, with the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, too at a loss to express her feelings about the manner of Lumka’s death. Her death, following the similar tragic death of five-year old Michael Komape at his rural school in Limpopo in 2014, spotlights the urgent need to rid all schools of all pit latrines. The province’s education spokesperson is reported to have admitted that the old toilets where Lumka drowned, should have been demolished “long ago”. Notwithstanding, no school should have pit latrines, old or new, according to South Africa’s Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure. In 2013, the Basic Education Minister signed into law the Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure. It specifically provides for provinces to ensure the necessary environments for quality learning and teaching to take place. Research confirms the positive correlation between infrastructure development and educational outcomes. The law stipulates that schools must have decent toilets, electricity, water, fencing, adequate classroom numbers, libraries, laboratories and sports fields. It also states unequivocally that plain pit and bucket latrines are not allowed in schools. Public-Private Partnerships can make the difference. Various government departments have successfully implemented their programmes because of close working relationships with the private and civil society sectors. These . . .