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The Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences’ Life Science Revision project is growing from strength to strength, with nearly 200 matrics from three high schools joining in a recent revision session at CPUT.

The project was launched in 2018 by the Department of Emergency Medical Sciences’ Prof Kareemah Najaar, to help more learners achieve the minimum requirements to qualify for programmes in the science field.

Matric learners and teachers from Lavender Hill High School, Wynberg High School and Langa High School visited the Bellville Campus for the first revision session of the year, with 43 tutors volunteering to assist the learners.

The tutors included staff and students from all seven departments in the Faculty: Emergency Medical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Wellness Sciences, Nursing, Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences, Ophthalmic Sciences and Dental Sciences and, for the first time, tutors from the Department of Medical Biosciences at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

“Over the years, since its inception in 2018, this community project has grown in numbers and evolved in design, efficiency and leadership. What started as a project with myself and 15 tutors and one department supporting one high school with Life Science revision, now has a pool of approximately 100 tutor volunteers from seven FHWS departments as well as volunteers from UWC who are supporting three high schools,” said Najaar.

“I am also now part of a powerful leadership team, with Dr Wendy Solomon and Ms Marnel Germishuys, who work tirelessly to ensure the efficient planning and execution of each revision session. We are very proud of what has been termed as a Faculty Flagship.”

In previous years, a school would serve as the venue for the revision session, but this year learners were welcomed on campus, where they received valuable exposure to the institution.

Plans to expand the project are in the pipeline.

“Before the end of 2024, we intend inviting two additional schools from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Paarl district. We also intend to invite the Medical Biosciences Department, UWC to officially partner with us and continue to increase the number of adopted high schools.”

Najaar said a fundamental component of the project’s success was to use the feedback from the teachers and learners and adapting operations and revision content to their needs.

“I do believe that we have created a tutoring model that is able to adapt to various scenarios, from serious events such as the COVID-19 pandemic (when technology is not available to the disadvantaged) to an unexpected significant decrease in tutor numbers. The ever-adapting model ensures that the matric learners are provided with quality revision sessions in preparation for their final exams.”

Langa High School teacher, Nandipha Mandongana, said the project afforded learners the opportunity to revise topics that they may otherwise not have time for.

“The exposure to CPUT also serves as a motivation. They know what is expected of them in terms of their results if they want to make it (to CPUT) next year.”

Najaar said that in 2021 a significant component was added to the community project, that seeks to empower the young women in matric.

“In support of the national Sanitary Dignity Programme, we provide feminine hygiene products to the female students, in the hopes of making a small difference to the quality of education for young women.”

She thanked all role-players who contributed to the project’s success.

“We would always first give thanks to our tutors who volunteer their time and create a welcoming environment for the matric learners, without whom this project would not be possible. A warm thank you to our colleagues from UWC, who volunteered their time and skills. A heartfelt thank you to our teachers who provide us with the opportunity and guidance during the planning and execution of the revision sessions. We are also in appreciation for the received support from the Dean’s office as well as the Centre for Community Engagement and Work Integrated Learning, Service-learning division.”

The at-risk Science and Mathematics students from numerous departments recently attended the STEM (Science, Technology, Education & Maths) mid-year bootcamp intervention programme held at South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre.

The students came from the departments such as Maritime Studies, Marine Engineering, Mathematics, Marine Physics, B.Ed. FET Physical Science and Mathematics, Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Mathematics. The STEM bootcamp has been designed to prepare students for the mid-year assessments.

The CPUT STEM Support Lead, Dr Frikkie George, says the bootcamp intervention programme is one of the imperatives of the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) STEM project funded by the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET). The first Bootcamp was conducted in 2022 during the September recess. The Bootcamps take place twice a year - in May to prepare students for the mid-year assessments and in September to prepare students for the year-end final assessment.

“The Bootcamp targets at-risk mathematics, physics and chemistry students identified by lecturers. The interest and requests from students to attend grew, however, due to funding we can only accommodate 50 students in May and 100 in September,” said George.

During the bootcamp students worked through the assessments of the first semester in discipline specific sessions. Lecturers, Jerome Tangkeh from Mathematics and Physics Department, Rhulani Saka from Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, tutors, and STEM Club members facilitated the bootcamp sessions. The bootcamp was well attended despite the short notice to students and the timing of the bootcamp (last week of lecturers). Over the two days 95% of the students attended. The difference in the results of the pre-diagnostic and post-diagnostic tests indicate a 5% improvement.

To quantitively determine the success of the bootcamp intervention for recording purposes, students write a pre-diagnostic test at the start of the bootcamp and a post-diagnostic test at the end of the Bootcamp. The facilitators also randomly interview students during the bootcamp to qualitatively determine the students' experiences of the different sessions. The facilitators also track the academic performance in the mid-year and year-end assessments of the students who attend. “These measures are important to indicate whether the bootcamp makes an impact in the academic performance of students who attend the bootcamps.”

Thursday, 23 May 2024

US delegation visits CPUT

A delegation from Indiana State University recently visited CPUT as part of a study group tour of four South African universities.

The objective of the visit was to learn about South African history and culture and to understand the different institutional cultures, according to Dr Tasmeera Singh, Manager: International Relations in the Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Directorate.

They visited three universities in the Western Cape and the University of Pretoria in Gauteng.

Prof Hanlie Dippenaar, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Education, said the visit also served to introduce the Faculty to their colleagues from Indiana State University, and to explore possible collaboration between the two institutions.

“Such collaboration can enrich the educational experiences of staff and students by offering diverse perspectives and cultural insights to students and Faculty alike. We as a Faculty are interested in exploring joint projects and initiatives, fostering innovation and addressing complex global challenges through collective efforts. “Ultimately, such opportunities cultivate a network of international scholars, graduates, and professionals, promoting cross-cultural understanding and contributing to the goal of internationalisation, which is a priority in the Faculty of Education.”

Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Career Fair empowers students

The 2024 Career Fair, which was recently held at the Bellville Campus, provided students with a valuable opportunity to network and engage with a diverse range of potential employers.

Hosted by the Centre for Community Engagement and Work-Integrated Learning, the event attracted 30 exhibitors from various sectors including health and finance.

The centre’s Director, Prof Lalini Reddy, said the objective was to expose students, especially second and third years, to potential employers and to prepare them for the future by familiarising them with current workplace expectations. The fair allowed students to ask relevant questions and gain insights directly from industry professionals.

Reddy said each exhibitor represented various potential opportunities for students from different fields of study, as one company may, for example, have IT, marketing, finance, human resource and other employees.

Students from various campuses attended the event, seizing the chance to gain valuable insights into the job market and better prepare for their future careers.

The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (FBMS), Prof Paul Green, recently heaped praise on a celebration of academic achievement, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of excellence by the CPUT staff members and students who have completed the SAP S/4 HANA course as well as candidates from our industrial partner Shoprite.

Green was speaking at the SAP S/4 HANA graduation ceremony, recently organised by the Centre for Enterprise Research Partnership and Innovation in Africa (CERPiA) and the Advancement Department and held at the Cape Town Hotel School. “It is with great pleasure that we gather here today to honour the dedication and hard work of our graduating students who have successfully completed their SAP S/4 HANA certification under the auspices of the Centre for Enterprise Research, Partnership, and Innovation in Africa (CERPIA),” said Green.

CERPIA is an institutional centre established by Vice-Chancellor Prof Chris Nhlapo. CERPIA through CPUT is a member of the SAP University Alliance (UA) since 2009, which seeks to transfer theoretical and practical scarce digital business systems skills to university students in preparation of entering the job market. These digital business systems skills are driven by Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) principles using SAP Software as a tool. CERPIA education partners are SAP University Alliance, University Competent Centre (UCC) and the industry partners.

CERPIA SAP education manager and trainer, Jerry Ansen, said the purpose of these courses was to equip student and staff with the knowledge and skills required to effectively use SAP software for managing business operations and processes. Ansen added that the courses are for students and staff to master SAP ERP skills, and enhance their digital business skills and to enhance students employability.

He said BANKSETA sponsored 38 students of which 31 graduated and ETDPSETA sponsored 29 staff of which23 graduated. The SAP programmes were introduced to CPUT by Ansen, and he has been the pillar behind the skills development of staff and students since 2009.

All students are welcome to attend the courses as there is no selection criteria, “We depend on funding for students from Advancement Department”. “Graduates get to learn 21st-century ICT digital skills, be empowered to take current job opportunities and be competitive in the market space.” Addressing the graduates, Ansen said: “Congratulations!! And I wish you all the best in your professional digital business skills careers.”

31 CPUT students graduated from SAP S4 HANA in:

  • Human Capital Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Materials Management
  • Master Data Management
  • Project Management

There were three staff members in SAP S/4 HANA – TS410 and eight candidates from Shoprite Group ltd and SAP S/4 HANA- Materials Management. CERPIA, as the driving force behind advancing digital business skills, plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of “our students and the broader community,” Green remarked. “As part of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences… We are committed to equipping our students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their chosen fields.”

He added that through the FBMS integration of SAP skills into their curricula and the provision of certifications, “we empower our students to stand out in a highly competitive industry”. “This strategic focus on SAP not only enhances graduate employability but also ensures that our students are well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of the digital economy. It is this emphasis on practical, industry-relevant skills that makes our graduates more marketable and sought after by employers.”

The HIV/AIDS Unit, in collaboration with partners, KeReady, NORSA, WITS Reproductive Health Institute (RHI), and TB HIV Care, recently wrapped up the First Things First campaign, which was launched in February.

The First Things First project is a Higher Health-funded campaign that has been around for more than 15 years, and it’s one of the most successful Mobile Wellness health screening campaigns at CPUT, according to HIV/AIDS Unit Head, Melanie Swanson. This campaign goes out to mobilise the students in their numbers to put their health first and know their health status. “These services include HIV screening (getting to know their HIV status), blood pressure screening, blood glucose screening, sexually transmitted infections screening and many more,” Swanson remarked.

KeReady provided COVID-19 and Flu vaccines across campuses. The teams made their way to all CPUT campuses. They extended their reach to CPUT-owned and leased residences across these campuses, reaching students after class and in the evenings. Contraceptive and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services were included in this campaign. Over 3 500 students participated in this campaign, and “we want to thank every student who participated, in particular our student leadership who always stand behind us with their support,” she said.

During this campaign, the teams demonstrated a remarkable commitment to student health and wellness. They did more than just provide healthcare services, they also taught students about health risk reduction strategies. Other services offered through Campus Health include access to chronic medication such as antiretroviral treatment.

“Remember, when living with HIV infection, you must be on antiretroviral treatment for life. Should you experience any difficulty in this area, visit your nearest Campus Clinic regarding your treatment or Student Counselling for emotional support. Living with HIV infection is like any other chronic condition that is manageable and treatable. By combining healthcare services with education and awareness-raising initiatives, the FTF campaign aimed to address health needs and created a lasting impact on the student community's overall wellness.”

The main goal of the FTF campaign is to promote proactive healthcare behaviours and empower students to take charge of their health. By offering a wide range of health services, the campaign aimed to foster a culture of health consciousness and encourage students to prioritise their well-being. To avoid unplanned pregnancies, students are advised to visit their nearest campus clinic for free contraceptive services. These dedicated teams will make their way back to the campuses and residences during the second semester.

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The Department of Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences (MITS) recently hosted two students, Julie van Herck and Sien Paelinckx from Odisee University in Brussels, Belgium on a four-month clinical internship.

The MITS Department and Odisee University have an eight-year international exchange collaboration.

Guiding the students’ clinical training journey from January to April 2024, was Dr Aladdin Speelman, the international exchange programme coordinator in the MITS Department. Prior to commencement of the exchange programme, Speelman played an integral role in ensuring the registration of students with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and orientation within the Groote Schuur Hospital, amongst others. During the 2024 exchange programme, Speelman was supported by three academics within MITS department – Valdiela Daries, Yanda Peters and Heidi Thomas.

During their time in Cape Town, Julie and Sien completed clinical training in the Radiography department at Groote Schuur Hospital. They gained experience in a wide range of procedures including imaging of trauma patients and those with uncommon and rare diseases, often not seen in developed countries such as Belgium.

The two students’ experiences extended beyond the hospital environment. They had the opportunity to interact professionally and socially with CPUT students and academics, they travelled the Garden Route and explored the picturesque Cape Winelands while enriching their understanding of diverse South African cultures.

In March this year, the exchange programme saw Peter on a staff exchange to Odisee university. Peter spent a week at Odisee University and participated in teaching Odisee students during clinical tutorials on Angiography and Interventional Procedures. “I was thrilled to discover that our programme matched the standards of Belgium, a first-world country, especially in terms of the content covered in the afore-mentioned topics. This enabled me to actively engage and contribute meaningfully during tutorials, despite encountering some language challenges”.

Looking into the future, the four-month exchange period marks the continuation of a promising collaboration between CPUT and Odisee University. Through continued partnership, the MITS Department aims to create opportunities for Radiography students to visit Belgium in the near future.

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