‘Schools deserve better’ – Education leaders in Donegal slam Budget 2020

first_imgEducation leaders in Donegal have slammed today’s budget saying school leaders and pupils have been ‘short-changed’. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) led a nationwide campaign to ensure that every politician in Dail Eireann was educated on the challenges facing our primary education system.School leaders say class sizes are supersized, leaders are not supported, and the system grossly underfunds the running of primary schools to the tune of €46 million per year. West Donegal native and INTO Secretary-General, John Boyle, said: “Ireland’s national ambition to become the best education and training service in Europe by 2026 can’t be secured if our pupils and school leaders are not adequately supported.“Our school leaders deserve better – we need to see a restoration of assistant principal posts in our schools and teaching principals need a minimum of one leadership and management day per week.John BoyleBoyle added: “Despite acknowledging the class size differential in small schools and the school funding challenges facing all of our primary schools, today’s budget will do little to lower class sizes to eurozone levels or reduce the funding pressures facing schools.”“Regrettably, in the first school year of the new decade, class sizes in Irish primary schools will still be the largest in the Eurozone. “Ireland’s expenditure on primary education will remain in the bottom half of the European league and primary school leadership will continue to be neglected.”“Our prudent and legitimate calls for a reduction of one pupil in all classes, the restoration of school capitation to pre-recession levels of €200 per pupil and supports for primary principals including middle leadership teams and more administrative release time have been ignored by the government.“We simply cannot become the best if we fail to invest in the best.”‘Schools deserve better’ – Education leaders in Donegal slam Budget 2020 was last modified: October 8th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New M&G journalism centre

first_imgThe new M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism is set to make waves in South African investigative reporting. (Image: stock.xchng) MEDIA CONTACTS • Stefaans BrümmerM&G Centre for Investivative JournalismRELATED ARTICLES • Reshaping reportage on Africa• Rewarding good African reporting • Fifa guarantees press freedom • The media and open justiceJanine ErasmusThe non-profit M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism has opened its doors with a threefold aim – to produce quality investigative journalism stories; to train suitably qualified journalists; and to help improve the environment for such individuals in South Africa, allowing them to do their work freely and efficiently.The project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, which is a grant-making organisation committed to promoting the principles of democracy, and M&G Media.The Open Society Foundation, which funded the initiative to the tune of R1-million (US$138 000) for the first year, was established in 1993 by Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros, now living in the US.Soros founded the South African foundation to help promote an open society in the country. This, he hoped, would result in democracy, tolerance for opposing opinions, acceptance of and respect for minorities, a strong economy, and an active civil society.M&G Media owns the Mail&Guardian newspaper as well as the corresponding online portal, which claims to be Africa’s oldest newspaper website.The company is also responsible for The Teacher magazine, a monthly, and a number of other online publications including blogs Thought Leader, Sports Leader and Tech Leader, as well as Campus Times and entertainment portal The Guide.The foundation’s executive director Zohra Dawood said that a free media culture is vital to the growth of democracy, and support for initiatives that drive such a culture is a priority for the organisation.“In supporting the Mail&Guardian over the years, we salute its commitment to investigative journalism in particular,” she said. “We are proud to be a part of an initiative that will continue a fearless tradition of exposing wrongdoing in the public interest.”Quality investigationsThe team is known collectively as amaBhungane – the dung beetles. Members of the scarab superfamily of beetles, these creatures, although small, help to improve agricultural conditions by consuming dung.Stories produced by the centre’s staff will be distributed through the two M&G publications, the Mail&Guardian and the Mail&Guardian Online.Already a host of top journalists have come on board. Among them are Adriaan Basson, Stefaans Brümmer and Sam Sole of M&G – all of them multiple award winners. Investigators Jackie Mapiloko of City Press and Ilham Rawoot and the first group of interns support the veteran complement.According to Mail&Guardian newspaper editor Nic Dawes, good investigative journalism is central to the publication’s ability to embody the constitutional idea of a free press.“With greatly compromised institutions of state – from parliament to the prosecuting authorities – it increasingly falls to the media to do the crucial work of insisting on accountability, both in government and in the private sector,” he said.Having a dedicated investigative journalism unit will help alleviate the financial pressure that media houses increasingly struggle with, said Dawes, and at the same time allow M&G Media to enhance the quality of its investigative journalism work.“From corruption and governance issues to health, the environment and poverty,” he said, “amaBhungane will be working to turn the dross of greed and self-interest into fertiliser for democracy”.Improving African journalismThe centre is just one of a number of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of all genres of journalism in South Africa and on the continent.Among them are the partnership between Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape and Unesco, which focuses on improving the standard of reporting through the training of journalism teachers, especially with regard to the efficient use of new media.Further afield, the science journalism mentoring project spearheaded by the World Federation of Science Journalists with the support of the UK’s Department for International Development, has produced not only a group of well-equipped young science journalists, but has also given rise to new science journalism associations in South Africa and a handful of other African countries, as well as new science publications and TV and radio programmes.Through internships, the M&G centre aims to produce much the same effect. Budding journalists from any media house in the Southern African region are encouraged to apply for an intern position.last_img read more

Global grannies unite against Aids

first_img“We are the backbone of our communities; with our love and commitment we protect and nurture our orphaned children. Africa cannot survive without us.” Grandmothers have become indispensable caregivers in Aids-ravaged communities across Africa. (Image: James Hall, Irin PlusNews) MEDIA CONTACTS • Felicity Heyworth Communications Officer Stephen Lewis Foundation [email protected] 1 416 533 9292 ext 243 1 888 203 9990 ext 243 RELATED ARTICLES • The great granny revolution• New research key to HIV treatment• Zimbabwean fathers fight HIV• African TB nurses laudedGrandmothers from all over Africa have joined hands with grandmothers in Canada to call for greater support and recognition of their role in caring for grandchildren orphaned by Aids.“We are the backbone of our communities; with our love and commitment we protect and nurture our orphaned children. Africa cannot survive without us,” declared a manifesto released for the first African Grandmothers’ Gathering, held in Swaziland.Eunice Simelane, who has supported and cared for five grandchildren since her son and daughter-in-law succumbed to Aids-related illnesses, read the manifesto at the meeting attended by 200 grandmothers from Swaziland, 232 from other African nations, and 42 Canadian grandmothers representing 7 000 others who have formed groups in Canada to raise funds and awareness to help elderly African women struggling to raise Aids orphans.The first Grandmothers’ Gathering took place in 2006 in Toronto, Canada, the brainchild of former United Nations Special Envoy for Aids in Africa Stephen Lewis. His Stephen Lewis Foundation has been channelling funds to community-led Aids organisations that support grandmothers in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.Swaziland’s Aids epidemic is among the worst in the world: around 160 000 children are classified as orphans and vulnerable children in a population of less than 1-million – and was a natural choice to host the first Grandmothers’ Gathering held in Africa.Traditionally the extended family has looked after its own, so there are few orphanages. Grandmothers have become the primary caregivers, but their vital role has been largely overlooked, and their need for help to feed, clothe, house and educate their grandchildren ignored, said Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.“I was reviewing funding proposals, and many of them dealt with orphan funding, but they seemed written in code. They always referred to ‘guardians and caregivers’, but didn’t say who these persons were. We found the caregivers were the grandmothers of Africa,” she said.People have given generously to support the Foundation’s programmes, so Landsberg-Lewis wanted her fellow Canadians to meet African grandmothers personally. “They came to Swaziland, paying their own way,” she said. “I knew they would be moved by the heroic grandmothers.”The three-day conference in Swaziland’s central commercial hub, Manzini, was an emotional meeting, often joyous but sometimes harrowing, with many of the grandmothers giving accounts of abuse and poverty.The delegates compiled a list of demands from their governments, including financial assistance and sustainable projects, created with their involvement. Swaziland’s prime minister and several cabinet officials attended the gathering.“The grannies had hoped to be retired now, and to be taken care of by their children, and to play with their grandchildren, instead of having to raise them. This has to be acknowledged and assisted,” said Siphiwe Hlope, executive director of Swazis for Positive Living, a support group for HIV-positive women which organised the event with the Stephen Lewis Foundation.Hlope led a march in 2009 to protest lavish spending by the royal family, in contrast to the meagre resources for those affected by HIV and Aids, yet she was embraced by the Swazi Queen Mother, who attended the gathering. “We are all grandmothers, and what brings us together is our love for children,” Hlope said.Sharing their storiesThe grandmothers shared their stories at workshops in Swahili, SiSwati and English. “It was difficult for me to tell my granddaughter that she was HIV-positive, and because of that she was told by the people in the neighbourhood, who made fun of her,” said Esther Mango from Kenya. “She was very hurt. She said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’”They described their battles with discrimination because of their age, gender and HIV status. “When my husband was very sick, his family refused that I visit him in the hospital. He told my eldest son that when he died, no one should marry me because he knew what was ailing him, and he knew that I had it too and would make another ill,” said one woman.“I went to the hospital after he died and I took a test; I learned I was HIV positive. His family wouldn’t let me see my husband, but it is me who takes care of the grandchildren.”Staff from the Stephen Lewis Foundation showed African grandmothers how to apply for grants to run community projects. One Foundation project in Kenya employs 300 women who make jewellery that is sold in Canada, and a third of profits used to fund programmes in Africa. Source: Irin PlusNewslast_img read more

Changing the world through computer literacy

first_imgChange the World visited Winnie Mandela Secondary School in Tembisa to hold a Connecting Leaders workshop, during which teachers were introduced to Microsoft office programs before taking a test to evaluate their newfound skillsEducation and computer literacy are central to finding jobs in a rapidly changing workplace; recognising this Natalie Emery started the Change the World Trust, to develop office-based computer literacy skills among South Africans.After founding and running literacy programmes in Delhi, India, for three years, Emery now develops and runs computer literacy projects through the trust, with sponsorship from the Dell Development Fund and Rectron.In 2008, the Change the World Trust started with one IT training centre in Olievenhoutbosch just outside of Centurion, Pretoria, before moving its main centre to Midrand after a series of robberies.Now the organisation runs its main operations from Midrand, with two smaller training centres in Zandspruit and Diepsloot, and holds tutorials on programs such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.The organisation also offers advanced courses in web design and maintenance, and equips students with marketable IT skills.SKILLS FOR JOBS“It’s not just educational projects but also giving our students tangible skills so that they can actually go out and get jobs as well,” says Emery.“So we decided to go with computer basics and more advanced courses because we see that as a skill that is needed in the business community … if you have that skill it’s easier to get a job.”Change The World’s field team at Winnie Mandela Secondary School in Tembisa for their Connecting Leaders Programme (images: Mathiba Molefe)On what motivates her team, Emery says, “I think it’s seeing the success.“When we first started off what really motivated me was when we had 29 single young moms in our training centre in Olievenhoutbosch who weren’t able to finish high school and had very little opportunity to work because they had to care for their children.“After the training it was still very difficult for them but most of them got jobs. That was very rewarding; it showed us we were doing something right.”Emery says that just over 60% of the students who completed the training course in 2009 went on to get permanent jobs.The organisation also runs an outreach project, its IT Workshops programme, visiting schools across Gauteng.It offers school children, many of whom do not have access to a computer, lessons on how to operate one, and advanced courses similar to those available at the training centres.The organisation’s Connecting Leaders programme aims to improve teachers’ computer literacy skills to supplement their teaching and make tasks such as setting tests, and organising timetables and class rosters, easier.CONNECTING LEADERSOn 13 March 2014, Change the World visited Winnie Mandela Secondary School in Tembisa to hold a Connecting Leaders workshop, during which teachers were introduced to Microsoft office programs before taking a test to evaluate their newfound skills.Teachers successfully completing the test received proficiency certificates, and felt more confident about using the programs.Daniel Modiba, a home languages and social science teacher, said what he had learnt during the training session would make his life a lot easier; “This was very fascinating, I didn’t have an idea how to use this thing [a laptop] but as of now I have a little light at the end of the tunnel.“It was a problem for me but as of now I’m going to use this thing in front of my learners and for more personal things too.”Steven Masemola, head of the English department, said he has had a computer for some time but wasn’t quite sure how to use some of the programs, but “now I know how to use Excel and PowerPoint. I want to get a projector so that I can use the computer in the lessons to the benefit of my students and teachers during meetings.”The organisation’s Connecting Leaders programme aims to improve teachers’ computer literacy skills to supplement their teaching and make tasks such as setting tests, and organising timetables and class rosters, easierFaith Moyengwa, a trainer at Change the World, says she finds being a part of the organisation “fun and rewarding”, “especially the projects that we do going out to the schools and working with kids”.“Right now we’re busy with a project, Boot Camp; we gather high school students and they do basic web design, so that’s pretty cool.”The Boot Camp project teaches high school students how to create websites using popular programming language HTML/CSS, and techniques to create functional, attractive websites.The Boot Camp culminates in a competition in which the most promising pupils compete individually or in groups to create functional websites in four hours.The competition winners receive a tablet and a certificate of proficiency, while second and third place contestants receive 16 gigabyte and eight gigabyte flash drives respectively with their certificates.PLAY YOUR PART“All these projects would not have happened without the support from the Dell Development Fund and our fantastic sponsors,” says Emery.She encourages individuals to “get involved”, and help the non-profit to continue its work by visiting the organisation’s how-to-help page, calling its offices on +27 (0)11 455 2282, or emailing [email protected] for more information.last_img read more

Eden to host 3 matches but ICC rules out any India game

first_imgThe much awaited green signal has finally come to the Eden Gardens from the International Cricket Council (ICC).The Eden GardensStripped off the money-spinning India-England match by the ICC due to lack of preparedness, the Eden Gardens is set to hold the remaining three World Cup matches allotted to the venue.Kolkata fans can now look forward to some cricketing action as the venue is set to host the South Africa- Ireland match on March 15, the Ireland-Netherlands game on March 18 and the Zimbabwe- Kenya clash on March 20.Confirming the news that the threemember inspection team was happy with the progress in work, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said that the historical ground will hold the remaining matches. “I have received a preliminary report (after Monday’s inspection) and we are pleased with the progress made since January 25 and if that pace of work is maintained, we believe that the stadium will be ready for the games in March,” Lorgat said.An ICC official confirmed that a positive report has been sent to the tournament director which would be forwarded to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).”The report was sent this morning at 9am to the host tournament director with the request that it should be forwarded to the venue, in the usual manner,” he told MAIL TODAY. The CAB wanted the India- Ireland game to be shifted to Kolkata now that Bangalore already had the India- England match, but Lorgat squashed their hopes.”That will be extremely difficult. A shifting requires all sorts of logistical changes which may not be possible in such a short duration,” Lorgat said.advertisementAlthough the ICC will conduct two further inspections on February 14 and 22, a CAB official said that the report came as a huge relief after the January 25 fiasco when the ICC deemed the Eden unfit to host the February 27 match.”We are relieved. We were behind time, but we are not a new Test or ODI centre.Having held international matches for a while, I can assure you that although the ICC has decided to inspect the venue again, we are ready to hold World Cup matches,” he told MAIL TODAY . “It is easy to build new stadiums. But our establishment dates back to 1865. For us, while we brought in state- of- the- art facilities in keeping with the ICC’s guidelines, we had to ensure that we didn’t completely do away with our rich legacy.As a result, our work was very challenging,” he said.Some people have raised questions over the lack of giant screens and electronic scoreboard. But the CAB official said that the main work was done and the association was now waiting for the screens to arrive from BCCI.last_img read more