Attracting and retaining the best at UG

first_imgThe issue regarding the challenges the University of Guyana (UG) continues to face in attracting and retaining highly-competent and qualified staff was once again brought to the fore at an event last Thursday. Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Paloma Mohamed was quoted in this newspaper as saying that the institution has been suffering from lack of resources for many years and as such, some of their operations are being stymied.Dr Mohamed related that the current salaries paid to staff, especially lecturers, are incapable of financially sustaining them and as a result, they end up leaving for greener pastures. It was also pointed out that this situation has affected the level of the institution’s output in terms of research and publishing of academic papers etc.“The University’s own kind of dysfunctional faculty distribution is something like that and it is not like this in most other places. We have about 63 per cent of the people working with master’s degrees and below. We have about 30 PhDs in the whole University, which is about 10 per cent and about 50 per cent of those are in higher administration and not teaching,” Dr Mohamed was quoted as saying.Certainly, the views expressed by the Deputy VC are nothing new. For years, the nation was told of these same challenges, but it seems as if a solution is nowhere close. Certainly, everyone wants to see UG advance into a better and more modern learning tertiary institution— one that would take its rightful place in terms of helping in nation-building and one that both students and lecturers and all others associated with it would be proud.The University’s current financial constraints have adversely affected its ability to offer staff much-deserving compensation and research facilities. There is urgent need for the authorities to continue to explore ways in which the current remuneration and benefit packages for lecturers and staff could be improved since UG cannot, at any point, produce the “best of the best” if it cannot retain the minds that are responsible for the moulding of those who seek higher learning.The University’s administration should seek to aggressively engage governments, international development partners, private sector organisations and civil society in an effort to garner support for the development of the university. The institution seriously needs to look beyond central government and to some extent, donors for its finances; it would need to examine alternative ways in raising funds to sustain itself as other international learning institutions have been doing in order to remain competitive.As we had stated before, the demands of the University are significant and ever-changing, and to continuously meet them, there must be a sustainable source of financing. Sustainable financing must be able to do more than just meet the basic expenses. Financing must be there to upgrade the University’s infrastructure in order to give it an appearance of a modern learning institution, provide students with the latest books, technologies and knowledge; provide modern research facilities that enable students to probe and test existing knowledge and to find new ones, and offer students more disciplines to choose from and that includes a wider variety of masters and doctorate programmes.On this basis, we agree that there is need to establish a platform where the public, the private sector, Government, and the University can form crucial partnerships to fund research, the delivery of technology, student services and other necessities.With Guyana being on the cusp of becoming an oil and gas economy, UG should be at the forefront in providing the skills and knowledge needed to allow our policymakers to make the right decisions in moving the sector forward. That said, it is encouraging to see that the University is now offering courses in Petroleum Engineering. These offerings must be widened to include other areas of expertise that would be needed to allow Guyana to develop into a modern, developed country.We believe that UG could indeed become a ‘forward thinking’ institution that can attract a large number of foreign students and serve as an authority on national, regional and international issues for governments, private individuals and businesses, but the sore issues, once again raised by the Deputy VC last Thursday, must be addressed once and for all.last_img read more

Rain-soaked Midwest counting its losses

first_imgIn the Ohio village of Carey, waist-deep water swirled through the tiny downtown, submerging cars to their rooftops. Dozens of flooded streets made it impossible to cross the town. The Carey Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was evacuated, with 28 residents transferred to a local hospital. Firefighters used boats to rescue families from flooded homes in Bucyrus after nearly 9 inches of rain fell, and the Upper Sandusky school district in north-central Ohio canceled the first day of school. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, thousands of homes were damaged: A preliminary survey by the American Red Cross in Minnesota identified about 4,200 affected homes, including 256 complete losses, 338 with major damage and 475 that are still inaccessible, said Kris Eide, the state’s director of homeland security and emergency management. About 100 flood victims met with Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in a sometimes contentious meeting Monday during which he cautioned against expecting miracles, especially because many flood victims don’t have insurance. Preliminary damage reports in Wisconsin topped $38 million Tuesday and were expected to keep rising. In Oklahoma, which recorded a gust of 82 mph and rainfall of 11 inches, about 300 homes and businesses were damaged in the Kingfisher area and in Caddo County in southwestern Oklahoma, officials said. Numerous flood warnings remained in effect through today and Thursday, and Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency in 24 counties.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GAYS MILLS, Wis. – Water-weary residents across the Midwest began counting their losses Tuesday as damage estimates from this weekend’s deadly flash floods climbed into the tens of millions. The rain moved into Ohio, where roads flooded, schools canceled classes and residents were rescued from flooded homes by boats. The death toll from the two storm systems – one in the Upper Midwest and the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin in Texas and Oklahoma – climbed to 22 when searchers found the body of a man tangled in a tree about four miles from his wrecked, upside-down car near a creek south of Lewiston, Minn. Most of Gays Mills, a village of 640 people in southwestern Wisconsin, had been under water Sunday night. About half of the village was accessible Tuesday, and the growl of sump pumps filled the air as residents made their way back in. “It’s heart-wrenching, man,” said Deb Holtz, 48, who found the furniture shop she runs with her husband in Gay Mills coated with mud. “Makes me want to cry.” last_img read more

Sandton to get Park Inn by 2010

first_img28 January 2008Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group has announced plans to build a Park Inn hotel in Johannesburg’s financial centre of Sandton by 2010 to complement the group’s existing Radisson Hotel Sandton, which is due to open later this year.The Park Inn Sandton will feature 192 rooms and is expected to welcome its first guests in April 2010 – in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.“South Africa is an upcoming destination for business and leisure travellers,” Rezidor Hotel Group CEO Kurt Ritter said in a statement last week. “The government has prioritised tourism as a key economic sector, and international arrivals increase continuously – we are expecting new heights in 2010 when the country hosts the Fifa World Cup.”Consisting of leading brands like Radisson SAS, Country Inn, Hotel Missoni, Park Inn and Regent, the Rezidor Hotel Group features almost 300 hotels in operation and under development in 47 countries worldwide.The Park Inn Sandton will be situated directly across the road from the Gautrain station, and will have the benefit of being the closest hotel to the underground station that will link commuters on South Africa’s first underground railway system directly to the OR Tambo International Airport, Rosebank and Pretoria.The new hotel will also be in close proximity to the JSE, headquarters of many multinational corporations, and the Sandton Convention Centre, and only a few hundred metres away from Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square – two of the country’s finest shopping meccas.According to Rezidor, Park Inn is their fastest growing brand, with more than 100 hotels in operation and under development in Europe, Africa and the Middle East since the brand was launched in early 2003.The Park Inn brand is said to represent a young, dynamic and colourful mid-market brand, promising “the best sleep in town”.“With the existing Radisson and Park Inn hotels in Cape Town, as well as the recently signed Radisson hotels in Port Elizabeth and Sandton, this marks another milestone of the development and commitment of The Rezidor Hotel Group in South Africa,” the group said.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Helping kids shine at school – in their own language

first_imgFounder and director Maurita Glynn Weissenberg reads to a group of pupils, developing their reading skills. The happy smiles attest to the success of improved reading skills for these children. (Images: The Shine Centre) MEDIA CONTACTS • Linda Codron Manager, Communications, The Shine Centre +27 21 762 4320 RELATED ARTICLES • Instilling a love of reading • Storybook sparks love of reading • Why we need a literate nation • Reading to boost our self esteem Lucille DavieLiteracy is crucial for long-term success in today’s world, and a love of reading is vital for children’s long-term happiness at school and life beyond the classroom. The Shine Centre, based in Cape Town, is giving children that love of reading.It brings volunteers into schools to give children one-on-one help with reading. “Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. Once children have our attention we will have theirs, and then we can share our love of books with them,” says Maurita Glynn Weissenberg, the founder and director of the centre, where the slogan is “Words can change worlds”.Established in 2000, the centre has given some 5 000 children a better start in life by taking them out of the classroom and giving them extra attention. There are seven satellite centres in Cape Town, with an eighth to be opened next year. There are also five Shine Chapters, or social franchises, in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth; in Johannesburg, there are nine Shine-inspired independent Literacy Centres.Four-prong approachWeissenberg’s model, which has a four-prong approach, is being used by others too: she has trained orphanage teachers and after-school centres in the method.The Shine Centre supports children in grades two and three. At the end of Grade 1, every child in a Shine-supported school is assessed, and those at risk of not coping are given weekly two-hour sessions with a trained volunteer in Grade 2 in Shine’s Literacy Hour Programme. On average, depending on class sizes and schools, approximately 40% of children assessed will need to attend the programme. By the end of the year, however, a very small percentage will need to attend the following year.The children have a refresher course, in which they are given the basics of reading again. These involve a volunteer sitting with them, helping them to read, and building their confidence and self-esteem in the process. “The children quickly make up when they are paired with a volunteer,” says Weissenberg. She emphasises that the work is done at the pace set by the child.The next step is paired reading, where, if the child falters, the volunteer strives to reduce anxiety by slowing down the reading. The emphasis is on language acquisition, vocabulary and general knowledge. Then games are introduced, in which the child’s reading speed is improved. These also concentrate on phonics, encouraging the child to perfect the pronunciation of words. At this level, comprehension of sentences and concepts is strengthened.The fourth stage is called “have-a-go” writing, in which the emphasis is on spelling and handwriting, with the aim of getting the child to write with confidence. Along the way, the child is assessed every six months, to get a fix on his or her progress. These tests include eye assessments, and glasses are supplied, if necessary. These are usually provided by optometrists as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes.Other programmesWeissenberg, who is a primary and remedial teacher with 20 years’ experience, has drawn on other programmes to create Shine: the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnerships in the UK, combined with the Paired Reading and Storybook Reading method, 36 bespoke games, and the Have a go Writing method. She has worked with specialists in the field too.The principles of the Time to Think programme have also been incorporated: creating a physical environment where each individual matters; affirming the children’s importance; listening with respect and without interruption, and no hurrying of the child; giving them undivided attention; treating each other as thinking peers, and learning from each other, regardless of age, qualification or race; “ease creates, urgency destroys”, in other words, creating an environment that encourages children to work at their own pace; and, to practise the art of appreciation, with a lot of praise and encouragement for the children.An element of this is involving the parents in their children’s reading. All the schools where Shine operates are given a parent workshop for parents of children in grades R and one. “Our aim is to help parents see that just a little bit of positive support using basic literacy skills such as reading stories to the children, telling stories to them, engaging with them by really listening to them, asking them questions, asking their opinion,” explains Weissenberg.Shine has the backing and support of the Western Cape education department. “They like the fact that we have a set programme, formal training for our volunteer tutors, assessments every six months from Grade 1 to Grade 3, and set outcomes.” She adds that literacy and numeracy levels have risen in all the schools in which they work, except for one, where the school is plagued by crime, gangsters and drug abuse, “that affects the children deeply”.Buddies programmeThe Shine Centre also has a Book Buddies programme, in which older children have the opportunity to read to younger children. It has advantages for the readers, who gain more fluency reading aloud, while they become aware of expression and vocalisation. And for the younger children, they gain comprehension by talking about the stories to their mentors.“Children will begin to understand that reading can be enjoyable while they improve their reading skills and foster a lifelong love of reading,” indicates the website. There are other spin-offs. It is a chance to build friendships by learning from one another. It gives older children the chance to be role models, thus boosting their confidence and self-esteem.And, older children are less likely to be bullies, as they appreciate the needs of younger children, and at the same time learn constructive behaviour and social skills. It’s a win-win for everyone. “Relationships built between children of different ages benefit the entire community. The older children feel needed by their peers and empowered with knowledge and responsibility. The younger children feel supported and nurtured with the ability to confidently take on new challenges,” reads the website.Shine reinforces this work with workshops for communities and organisations to “empower them to be a proactive part of the school community and support children’s learning outside of the school environment”.Xhosa versus EnglishA problem Weissenberg has encountered is that children are largely Xhosa-speaking but urban schools are usually English medium. They are taught for two years in Xhosa, and switch to English by Grade 3, a language with which many are unfamiliar. “This means that most are learning in a second language. Every child should read in their mother tongue.”This means, says Weissenberg, that by Grade 6 less than 1% are coping at school.Getting books suitable for the children’s reading age is also a challenge. Books in the classroom are not always suited to their reading age, which is often below the standard for their grade. Shine buys its books from Cambridge and Oxford Press, but also uses the Talking Stories readers, which are printed in Xhosa and English. They also use the Biblionef books, which aims to have story books printed in all 11 official languages. “We buy their books in English and Xhosa so that the children have the best of both worlds,” says Weissenberg.New Shine centresWeissenberg and her team also facilitate the establishment of new Shine centres, called Shine Chapters, a social franchise, and reading clubs. They provide training to prospective franchisees, to help them set up around the country.“I attended Shine’s formal seminar about setting up a literacy centre. It was a privilege to be among people of such integrity and competence,” writes Margi Bashall on the website. “Their standards are uncompromisingly high, their system is professional and their commitment to education is absolute.” She has helped set up nine independent literacy centres in Johannesburg. “I know this work is healing.”Weissenberg has some 500 volunteers working in Shine’s centres and chapters around the country. By 2016, she hopes to have reached 16 000 children through reading clubs in faith-based organisations, after-care clubs, community reading clubs and Shine Chapters. The most rewarding part of her role as director, she says, “is witnessing the impact a love of reading can have on children”. Her top tip for encouraging children to read is to first gain their trust.Shine sponsors include DG Murray Trust, Sanlam, UK and US foundations, Rotary, School Aid in the UK, and individual sponsorships and family trusts. The Shine Trust is part of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising scheme, which raises money for schools, charities and environmental organisations.last_img read more

South Africa sells Vodacom stake to fund Eskom

first_img1 July 2015The government has sold its 13.91% stake in Vodacom to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which acts on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).The cash from the sale will be used to finance the R23-billion allocation to Eskom, according to the National Treasury. “This gives expression to the commitment made in the 2015 budget and the 2014 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that funding of state-owned companies would be in a deficit neutral manner,” the Treasury said this morning.The move comes after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on Monday rejected Eskom’s request for a further 9.58% increase in electricity tariffs.“Last week, Parliament passed the Eskom Special Appropriation Bill to enable the appropriation and the Eskom Subordinated Loan Special Appropriation Amendment Bill for the conversion of the subordinated loan into equity,” the Treasury added.It did not disclose the deal value, but based on Vodacom’s market capitalisation on the JSE on 30 June, the stake is valued at R28.7-billion.The National Treasury and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services worked together on the transaction. It said that before the decision on the sale was taken, the government sounded out the market, with several organisations presenting proposals for raising the funding to be allocated to Eskom.“The government considered a wide range of options including the sale of listed shareholdings it holds directly, the disposal of listed stakes held indirectly through development finance institutions, the sale of government’s unlisted shareholdings in state-owned companies or their subsidiaries, the ring-fencing and sale of assets held by state-owned companies, and the sale of other assets, such as property, owned by the state.”The sale of the Vodacom stake was the most viable option to raise funds quickly to inject equity into Eskom. This was crucial to bolster the utility while still ensuring the government could deliver on its strategic objectives, said the Treasury.It added: “The PIC’s offer to [the] government was in line with pricing quoted by other institutions when taking into account the large size of the stake and also provided the added benefit of keeping the shares within the broader family of public sector-related institutions.”In addition to the allocation of R23-billion to Eskom, the government committed to converting to equity the R60-billion subordinated loan given to Eskom previously. It said this would further strengthen the utility’s balance sheet. Cost reductions by Eskom, and applying for electricity tariff adjustments would complement these moves.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

British Airways wild ride over Gibraltar

first_imgA passenger and photographer on the ground have captured the wild gyrations of a British Airways A320 approaching Gibraltar.Both videos show the Airbus A320, swaying violently from side-to-side possibly after encountering a mountain wave off Gibraltar’s famous rock.British Airways Flt 492 took off from Heathrow at 8:25 am Monday and was due to land at Gibraltar at 12:10 pm. However, the pilots diverted to Malaga, Spain.READ Boeing 777X nears rolloutAccording to Flightradar 24 the A320 descended to 300 feet before diverting.The winds were forecast to be up to 46 mph but likely it was turbulent air off the rock.Here are the two video clips and there is a longer video below.ON BOARD VIDEO: British Airways have released no further Information on this flight other than it diverted due to strong winds.— Flight Alerts (@FlightAlerts_) February 25, 2019last_img read more

Serie A line-ups

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Juventus v Genoa Juventus: Buffon; Cuadrado, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Bentancur, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Dybala, Ronaldo Genoa: Radu; Ghiglione, Romero, C Zapata, Ankersen; Schone, Cassata; Agudelo; Pandev, Pinamonti, Kouame Lazio v Torino Lazio: Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Luis Alberto, Lulic; Caicedo, Immobile Torino: Sirigu; Izzo, Nkoulou, Lyanco; De Silvestri, Baselli, Meitè, Lukic, Laxalt; Zaza, Belotti Udinese v Roma Udinese: Musso; Becao, Troost-Ekong, Samir; Ter Avest, Mandragora, Jajalo, De Paul, Sema; Okaka, Lasagna Roma: Pau Lopez; Santon, Smalling, Fazio, Kolarov; Mancini, Veretout; Zaniolo, Pastore, Kluivert; Dzeko Sassuolo v Fiorentina Sassuolo: Consigli; Toljan, Marlon, Romagna, Peluso; Duncan, Magnanelli, Djuricic; Berardi, Caputo, Boga Fiorentina: Dragowski; Venuti, Milenkovic, Pezzella, Dalbert; Benassi, Pulgar, Castrovilli; Sottil, Boateng, Chiesa Check all the official line-ups from this evening’s six Serie A games, including Lazio-Torino, Sampdoria-Lecce and Sassuolo-Fiorentina. They kick off at 20.00 GMT, you can follow the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG. Cagliari v Bologna Cagliari: Olsen; Faragò, Pisacane, Klavan, Pellegrini; Nandez, Cigarini, Rog; Nainggolan; Joao Pedro, Simeone Bologna: Skorupski; Mbaye, Bani, Denswil, Krejci; Dzemaili, Schouten, Soriano; Orsolini, Santander, Sansone Sampdoria v Lecce Sampdoria: Audero; Depaoli, Ferrari, Colley, Murru; Ekdal, Vieira, Barreto, Bertolacci; Bonazzoli, Quagliarella Lecce: Gabriel; Meccariello, Lucioni, Rossettini, Dell’Orco; Petriccione, Tachtsidis, Tabanelli; Shakhov, Lapadula, Falcolast_img read more

Napoli: ‘Not a punitive retreat’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Napoli have released a new statement, insisting “the training retreat was constructive and not punitive,” though players and Carlo Ancelotti don’t seem to agree. The club remains in chaos after the squad rebelled against orders to continue the training retreat at the Castelvolturno ground, known in Italy as a ‘ritiro.’ Napoli announced they would take legal action against the squad, which may well include docking their wages, but a new statement was released this evening. “With reference to the news stories that appeared today and over the last few days referring to the first team training retreat, the club is surprised at the way some media outlets erroneously qualified it as a ‘punitive retreat.’ “President De Laurentiis stated on Radio Kiss Kiss on November 4 in very clear and unequivocal fashion: “This is a constructive retreat and not a punitive one.” “A ritiro, an expression summing up the complex mode of training, destined to help the players rediscover their concentration and necessary motivation ahead of two important and delicate matches.” However, the memo doesn’t seem to have reached Ancelotti – who said in a press conference on Monday that he did not agree with the decision to impose a retreat – and the players, who rebelled. Sky Sport Italia suggested the anger also came from the fact President Aurelio De Laurentiis imposed the decision upon them with no warning or explanation.last_img read more

Pjanic: ‘Enjoying new Juve role’

first_imgMiralem Pjanic believes he can “give my best in this role and I’m enjoying myself” with Juventus, as they host Milan to go back on top. It kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG. A victory is needed because Inter beat Hellas Verona 2-1 on Saturday, temporarily recapturing the leadership of Serie A. “Inter are doing very well too, so we need a great season if they are to continue like that,” the Bosnian told Sky Sport Italia. “We need to concentrate on ourselves, as if we win tonight, they we’ll be top of the table. We compliment Inter on their campaign, but we have had a very good start to the season and must continue like this, regardless of other results.” Pjanic is in a more central midfield role under Maurizio Sarri. “I’ve already said that I can give my best in this role, I am enjoying myself and hope that continues for as long as possible.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

Sporty makeover for BMW 3 Series

first_imgThe BMW 3 Series took the Indian entry-point luxury market by storm since its introduction here in 2008. It quickly overtook its German rivals – Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 – to become the bestseller in its segment. But with its German rivals coming back revitalised with new models, it was time for the Bimmer to get into the act again, hence the new 3 Series, which is being exclusively previewed here.Set for a February 2012 launch, the new 3 Series Saloon, codenamed F30, draws heavily from the existing 7 Series (F01) and the 5 Series (F10). The new 3 Series Saloon is sportier and more elegant than its predecessor.Improved proportions, pronounced wheel arches, headlamp units that blend into the double-kidney grille to form a continuous band across the front of the car, and air inlets beneath the headlights visually stretch the width and make the new 3 Series Saloon look low, wide and sporty.This is mirrored in the horizontal design language at the rear and the forward-pressing nose, long bonnet, rising swage lines and large wheels visible from the side. At the same time, the coupe-like profile, distinctive double round headlights, L-shaped rear light units with LED light bars, and the decorative trims chosen for the grille and around the windows give an athletic and yet elegant appearance.The new BMW 3 Series Saloon is 93mm longer than the previous model and 6mm narrower, excluding door mirrors. It also has a 50mm longer wheelbase. This has clear advantages when it comes to internal space. There’s 18mm more feet entry freedom, 15mm more knee room and 8mm more headroom in the rear; the height of the rear door and its opening angle have both been increased to make entry and exit easier. None of this is at the expense of luggage space, which has increased by 20 litres to 480 litres.advertisementBefitting the renowned driving dynamics of the BMW 3 Series, the interior control and switchgear layout is totally driver focused. The elegant and dynamic new interior design language, with twisting and merging surfaces arranged in a series of layers, all angle towards the driver. The centre console itself is angled at seven degrees towards the driver.All versions of the new 3 Series Saloon feature Drive Performance Control – it’s a switch that allows the driver to swap between up to four driving modes, varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ (the last is included only in Sport models or with selected optional equipment).What, however, is tragic is that BMW’s famed silky smooth straight six-cylinder engines will be replaced by commonplace four-cylinder motors, which with the help of twin turbochargers would produce similar power levels. The six-cylinder 330i will be replaced in the Indian market by the four-cylinder N20 2.0-litre engine producing 245bhp. A hybrid version may also be on sale – all sacrifices at the altar of emission control. Sadly, a whole legend will bow out with the demise of BMW’s famed sixer.The 3 Series Bimmer is a brilliant car. At present, it is the quickest of all rivals and has handling to match. The new 3, which replaces the existing model, will take the game a notch higher, something its competitors will find hard to match. Prices will be up marginally, so you can expect the ‘Corporate Edition’ to start at around Rs 25 lakh. At that price, the new 3 Series will remain the pick of its segment.last_img read more