33 research outputs found

    Implementing the National Curriculum Statement in the Further Education and Training Band: Educator’s Experiences in South Africa

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    Published ArticleThis study examined educators’ experiences in implementing the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in the Further Education and Training (FET) band (Grades 10-12 schools). A quantitative research approach was used in a survey of a sample of 369 participants. To this end, a questionnaire was used for collecting data. The Chi-square test was used to analyse data and to test the hypotheses of the study. The findings revealed that educators (teachers) differed significantly with regard to their experiences in implementing the NCS. The findings also indicated that gender, age, teaching experience and qualification had no influence on the educators’ experiences in implementing the NCS. The findings further revealed that educators differed in the extent to which they generally found implementing the NCS to be stressful. Furthermore, the findings revealed that except for qualification, educators’ biographical variables (gender, age, and teaching experience) had no significant influence on the extent to which educators generally found implementing the NCS to be stressful

    Usefulness of seed systems for reviving smallholder agriculture: a South African perspective

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    South Africa is considered a food-secure nation; however, food insecurity is still a major challenge for many poor rural households that rely on cash incomes and government grants for survival. Furthermore, these grants are not always adequate to meet households’ basic needs, and fail to provide them with the food required for food and nutrition security. Some of these households rely on agriculture to supplement their food needs, and an important aspect of this agricultural production is the seed system. Smallholder farmers in rural areas rely on informal seed systems, and use traditional knowledge and methods to produce, harvest, store, and sell their produce. This research combined quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the role of informal seed systems in promoting food production in rural smallholder agricultural households in South Africa. The narrative review showed reword that while smallholder farmers acquire seed from informal seed systems, they face numerous challenges that affect their production activities. These challenges include poor seed quality and assessment, poor storage and harvesting facilities, which limit proper seed production, and affect crop yield and marketing. Due to these challenges, the ability of rural smallholder farmers to access mainstream markets is limited and as a result, they are confined to local markets that offer lower prices. Moreover, South African policies do not recognize the informal seed system as one of the contributors to food security. This is a major limitation as farmers may not receive the support and assistance they require. Formal recognition and support for informal seed systems would go a long way in improving smallholder farmers’ access to quality seed. This would have ripple effects on their yields and productivity. When properly implemented and given recognition by the government, informal seed systems have the potential to contribute to rural food security and livelihoods

    Spatial trends in tourism within South Africa : the expected and the surprising

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    Abstract: Several researchers have highlighted the spatial imbalances of the tourism sector in South Africa. It has been noted that this sector is highly concentrated spatially in terms of its distribution and in relation to its potential local impacts across the country. Although it is broadly understood that the tourism sector is geographically uneven, the lack of sector comparative data at municipal level may inhibit the wide spread use of geographically comparative analyses of the contribution of the various dimensions of tourism in the South African space economy. The aim of this paper is to provide an indication of the value of such comparative analyses of the spatial trends and impacts of the tourism sector in local economies in South Africa. The discussion of the tourism space economy is based on an analysis of a local tourism database which contains details of the tourism performance of all local authorities in the country focussing on the period from 2001 to 2011. Whilst the study confirms the important role of metropolitan areas, secondary and coastal cities and typical tourism destinations in the tourism space economy, it also highlights the significance of some local places/economies that are not traditionally associated with tourism, as well as illustrating the significance of tourism spend in the local economies of a range of municipalities that might not be part of the ‘top’ tourist destinations in South Africa

    Evaluation of the effectiveness of the 360-credit National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE) programme

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    We investigated the effectiveness of the 360-credit National Professional Diploma (NPDE) as a programme that is aimed at the upgrading of currently serving unqualified and under-qualified educators, with a view to improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools and Further Education and Training colleges. To this end, the National Professional Diploma in Education Effectiveness Scale (NPDEES) and Classroom Observation and Assessment Form (COAF) were used. The findings indicated that educators differed in the extent to which they regarded the 360-credit NPDE programme as effective. The findings also indicated that component 3 (competences relating to teaching and learning processes), component 1 (competences relating to fundamental learning) and component 4 (competences relating to the profession, the school and the community) were the best predictors of the effectiveness of the 360-credit NPDE programme. It was found that educators differed in the extent to which they performed during the classroom-based evaluation. Suggestions are made for measures to improve educators’ performance in the classroom.Keywords: classroom-based evaluation; competences; components; exit level outcomes; National Professional Diploma in Educatio

    Adapt or die : the views of Unisa student teachers on teaching practice at schools

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    This study focuses on the views of Unisa distance education (DE) students enrolled for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) who had completed their teaching practice. The research questions were: What are student teachers’ experiences of the way in which Unisa prepared them for teaching practice, the school context in which they practised teaching, the mentoring they received or did not receive and the way they were assessed? Socio-constructivist learning and situated learning theory were used as the theoretical framework. A maximum variation sampling technique was used to select 16 participants who had completed 10 weeks of teaching practice to participate in the study. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews. The findings indicate that, in preparing students for teaching practice, all role players need greater clarity on what is expected of students with regard to learning outcomes, assessment criteria and lesson plans. Students need to be placed at schools that will provide constructive learning environments, mentoring teachers should receive training and there should be greater clarity on the who, what and how of the assessment of students during teaching practice.Curriculum and Instructional Studie

    Utility of CD4 count measurement in the era of universal antiretroviral therapy: an analysis of routine laboratory data in Botswana.

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    OBJECTIVES: National guidelines in Botswana recommend baseline CD4 count measurement and both CD4 and HIV viral load (VL) monitoring post-antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation. We evaluated the utility of CD4 count measurement in Botswana in the era of universal ART. METHODS: CD4 and VL data were analysed for HIV-infected adults undergoing CD4 count measurement in 2015-2017 at the Botswana Harvard HIV-Reference Laboratory. We determined (1) the proportion of individuals with advanced HIV disease (CD4 count < 200 cells/”L) at initial CD4 assessment, (2) the proportion with an initial CD4 count ≄ 200 cells/”L experiencing a subsequent decline in CD4 count to < 200 cells/”L, and (3) the proportion of these immunologically failing individuals who had virological failure. Logistic regression modelling examined factors associated with advanced HIV disease. CD4 count trajectories were assessed using locally weighted scatterplot smoothing (LOWESS) regression. RESULTS: Twenty-five per cent (3571/14 423) of individuals with an initial CD4 assessment during the study period had advanced HIV disease at baseline. Older age [≄ 35 years; adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-2.1] and male sex were associated with advanced HIV disease. Fifty per cent (7163/14 423) of individuals had at least two CD4 counts during the study period. Of those with an initial CD4 count ≄ 200 cells/”L, 4% (180/5061) experienced a decline in CD4 count to < 200 cells/”L; the majority of CD4 count declines were in virologically suppressed individuals and transient. CONCLUSIONS: One-quarter of HIV-positive individuals in Botswana still present with advanced HIV disease, highlighting the importance of baseline CD4 count measurement to identify this at-risk population. Few with a baseline CD4 count ≄ 200 cells/”L experienced a drop below 200 cells/”L, suggesting limited utility for ongoing CD4 monitoring

    Diagnostic accuracy of the Biosynex CryptoPS cryptococcal antigen semi-quantitative lateral flow assay in patients with advanced HIV disease.

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    Background: High cryptococcal antigen (CrAg) titers in blood are associated with subclinical meningitis and mortality in CrAg-positive individuals with advanced HIV-disease (AHD). We evaluated a novel semi-quantitative lateral flow assay (LFA), CryptoPS, that may be able to identify individuals with high CrAg titers in a cohort of AHD patients undergoing CrAg screening.Methods: In a prospective cohort of patients with AHD (CD4 ≀200 cells/ÎŒL) receiving CD4 count testing, CryptoPS and IMMY LFA CrAg testing were performed on whole blood by two operators blinded to results of the other assay. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of CryptoPS were assessed against IMMY LFA as a reference. CryptoPS low-titer (T1 band) and high-titer (T2 band) results were compared against IMMY LFA titers obtained through serial dilution.Results: 916 specimens were tested. Sensitivity of the CryptoPS assay was 61.0% (25/41, 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 44.5-75.8), specificity 96.6% (845/875, 95%CI: 95.1-97.7), PPV 45.5% (95%CI: 32.0-59.4), and NPV 98.1% (95%CI: 97.0-98.9). All (16/16) CryptoPS false-negatives were samples with IMMY titers ≀1:160. Of 29 patients (30 specimens) who tested positive on CryptoPS but negative on IMMY LFA, none developed cryptococcal meningitis over 3-months follow-up without fluconazole. Median CrAg titers were 1:20 (interquartile range [IQR] 0-1:160) in CryptoPS T1-positive samples and 1:2560 (IQR 1:1280-1:10240) in T2-positives.Conclusions: Diagnostic accuracy of the CryptoPS assay was sub-optimal in the context of CrAg screening, with poor sensitivity at low CrAg titers. However, the CryptoPS assay reliably detected individuals with high titers associated with poor outcomes
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