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Marine Engineering students recently leveraged their knowledge of spherical trigonometry (specifically Napier's rule) to calculate the distance between two coordinates on a sphere to better understand navigation during the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) workshop.

In this interactive session, the students learned how to use TurtleStitch to devise an algorithm. Once established, the algorithm was deconstructed to make sense of the mathematics involved and then re-constructed to understand the building blocks of algorithms.

Lecturer, Dr Ekaterina Rzyankina, said the students’ expertise will be passed on to other students they support in the nautical science programme. Rzyankina said it was the first time that AIMS applied TurtleStitch to higher education mathematics.

“The AIMS visit not only emphasised the significance of interdisciplinary education between mathematics and engineering but also underscored the innovative prowess of our budding marine engineers. Seeing the students take charge during the session was a testament to our continent's remarkable potential and talent,” she observed.

The collaboration was made possible by Rzyankina and Dr Frikkie George, who play pivotal roles in STEM education at CPUT, and Dr Sinobia Kenny from AIMS. Rzyankina added: “We didn't just talk theory. We brought it to life through cutting-edge technology, integrating coding and a stitching machine to tangibly demonstrate these complex mathematical concepts. It was inspiring to see the engagement, and it sparked curiosity among the students as they saw the practical applications of their studies unfold right before their eyes.”

Kenny stated: “With younger learners, I’ve tried teaching the innovative TurtleStitch first and then the mathematics but, this time, with final-year undergraduate students, we started with the mathematics and then constructed algorithms.”

Also, see Rzyankina’s blog at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7193337883674431488/

The Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences (MITS) Department recently celebrated a momentous occasion when it held its first-ever pledge ceremony for BSc1 students.

The event, hosted by lecturers Dr Kathleen Naidoo and Heidi Thomas, marked a significant milestone for the BSc1 students, as they prepare for their first clinical placements this month. A number of national and international speakers were invited and close to 100 students attended the event.

“When we reflected on the student journey at MITS, we felt that there was a need to bring in something that would help to remind and ground students on the importance of the profession they have chosen," said Naidoo. The pledge serves as a poignant reminder of the core values and motivations behind choosing a career in Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences. It aims to act as an enabling tool, offering motivation and encouragement during challenging times, and helping students “remember who they are, where they are, and why they are here”.

The participating students represent the four key disciplines within MITS – diagnostic radiography, nuclear medicine technology, diagnostic sonography, and radiation therapy. The pledge is a formal promise that the students make to the profession, their patients and themselves as radiographers.

The day culminated in a candle-lighting ceremony where students collectively read their pledge and signed the MITS pledge book, solidifying their commitment to the journey ahead.

Reflecting on the success of the inaugural event, Thomas expressed optimism for the future, stating: "We are pleased to say that the first ceremony went well, and we look forward to hosting future pledge ceremonies."

In a significant stride towards fostering international collaboration in higher education, CPUT and Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences (EhB), based in Belgium, have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The MOU signing ceremony marked the formalisation of a strategic partnership aimed at enhancing academic cooperation, research collaboration, and student exchanges between the two institutions. Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences delegation came to CPUT to explore opportunities with the Nursing, Urban and Regional Planning, and other departments. “The purpose of the meeting was to explore how they can collaborate not only in terms of student or faculty mobility but also in research (Research Focus Area 5: Human, Health and Social Dynamics and Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute),” Manager International Relations: Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships. Dr Tasmeera Singh remarked.

Singh said the collaboration and exchange agreement that was signed on the day allows for the exchange of students and research and that the collaboration was initiated by the Faculty of Applied Sciences. The event was attended by key representatives from both CPUT and EhB, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Dr David Phaho, along with dignitaries from the academic and administrative spheres.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo said CPUT places a premium on internationalisation. “We believe that problems are now global in nature, that’s why we subscribe to addressing sustainable development goals because problems know no boundaries and higher education do have a role to play in terms of actually addressing the sustainable development goals and other problems affecting the mankind,” said Nhlapo.

Reflecting on the occasion, Singh said: “It was a resounding success as there is a deep commitment by both parties to engage and collaborate. The goals were achieved as the MOU was signed and an invitation to visit Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences was extended to the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

The delegation was taken on a tour of the Department of Food Science and Technology laboratories where they witnessed CPUT's chocolate-making in progress and managed to sample some as well. They were also informed about the brewery and the mechanics behind making beer. “It is always the mandate and objective of the Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Directorate to ensure that every visit is a success aligned to the objectives of the visit and CPUT's strategic focus areas,” enthused Singh.

It was also revealed that the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor will visit Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences in July to solidify the commitment of the partnership.

Many individuals perceive pool as just a recreational game – something one plays at a bar or in the man cave. However, to members of CPUT’s supa-pool teams, it’s more than just leisure. It’s a competitive sport where they can test their skills against opponents from other universities nationwide.

CPUT supa-pool men’s team recently took first place overall in the 2024 USSA National Institutional Supa-Pool Championships. CPUT recently hosted the 2024 USSA Supa-pool Championships at the Western Cape Ultimate Pool Centre, Bellville.

Sport Development Officer, Quinton Summers, who was the chairperson of the Local Organising Committee, said the venue was “a positive new addition to this event”. “Hosting the event off-campus at a community venue meant that USSA supa-pool was exposed to the community more than it would have been.”

There were six participating universities: CPUT, Sefako Makgatho University, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the University of Limpopo, Rhodes University, and the University of Fort Hare, and each university brought two men’s teams and a female team for the five-day tournament. Summers said: “The competition was exciting, on each day the excitement in the venue could be felt.” The men’s team won the men’s section by beating UWC in the final. Unfortunately, the ladies did not make the knock-out stages but one of CPUT's players, Perseverance Mashilo was the best women’s player of the tournament.

Even though Perseverance did not make it to the knockout stages her scores in the round-robin part of the event were the best. This earned her the award. The CPUT Supa-Pool team Manager, Ricardo Geduld, and Coach, Beauren Simon worked tirelessly behind the scenes to earn the team the success and the respect they deserve at the USSA level.

The overall Women's Individual winner – Shanice Van Vuuren (UWC), made the knockout stages and won the final. Summers clarified that the scores in the knockout stages don't impact the points scored leading up to that stage of the tournament. The UWC was the winner of the women’s section. The Player of the Tournament, (men) was Kevin Martin, meanwhile, the overall team of the tournament was the University of Limpopo.

Thursday, 11 July 2024

Open Day success celebrated

The hard work and creativity of staff members who contributed to the success of CPUT Open Day 2024 were recognised during a recent event.

Open Day 2024 attracted an estimated 18 000 learners, parents, teachers and members of the public who were given the opportunity to explore the University’s 2025 course offering and to interact directly with staff and students.

Some departments also offered informative tours of their facilities.

Dr Garth van Gensen, Director of the Marketing and Communication Department, welcomed the attendees and said the Open Day “was nothing short of brilliant”. He thanked the staff members for their participation.

The winning stalls were also announced and four prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Most Informative Stand - Interior Design
  • Best Team Spirit - Emergency Medical Care
  • Best Faculty Experience - Horticulture
  • Best Marketing Concept - Film Production

The Faculty of Business and Management Sciences in collaboration with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Division of Student Affairs and Centre for Diversity, Inclusivity and Social Change recently hosted a Youth Month Commemoration event at Bellville Campus.

The event, themed, “Inspire Hope in the Student of 2024”. drew inspiration from the 1976 youth, who stood up in the hope of creating the tomorrow they envisaged. Manager: Strategic Initiatives and Projects, Andiswa Mrasi, said: “Today, our students are navigating various issues ranging from GBV, youth unemployment, and AI to mention a few. Therefore, this event seeks to encourage the students of 2024 to take up space and turn fear into hope as we work hard to build a better South Africa, Africa, and ultimately, the world we want.”

The event, which was also attended by the Dean of Students, Nonkosi Tyolwana, included a panel discussion, a live performance by a well-known international musician Cairo CPT, poetry, a public lecture on the role of the late great, Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the 1976 student uprising. On behalf of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Charlene Houston said: “The Arch always said to young people: ‘Go on dreaming that we are going to have a different world to the one we live in’”.

She said the quality of education was always an important matter for Archbishop Tutu. Houston said his father was an educator, and he became a teacher. “Both he and Mrs Tutu were teachers until they understood the implications of the newly introduced Bantu Education system. They resigned in protest.” She said young leaders needed to look at what platform they have, what influence they have, and “how you can use that to make a difference”.

Houston added that Tutu always urged the “oldies” to listen to young people and he encouraged youth to use their voices and to take action. “Dream you must, but you also need to take collective action.”

She also reminded the young people that they have “a wonderful heritage, you stand on the shoulders of brave courageous, and righteous people such as the Arch, Mbuyisa Makhubu, and the youth of 1976”. “Hopefully, you participated in the recent national elections. It doesn’t stop there. Learn about the ways to stay involved…. there are many channels to do so formally or informally. As the Arch said, ‘Don’t be infected by the cynicism of oldies who believe this world can become better for all’, The baton is yours to pick up!”

CPUT proudly opened its doors recently for the Global Institute for Teacher Education and Society (GITES) Annual Symposium of Teaching for Social Justice.

The theme of the symposium, held at the Cape Town Hotel School, Granger Bay Campus. was: Examining and envisioning education in South Africa from current inequalities to future equities – addressing social justice and inclusivity in pursuit of a ‘good society’.

Prof Zayd Waghid, Acting Director: GITES, CPUT, delivered the opening remarks and outlined the role of GITES. Waghid said the GITES Annual Symposium on Teaching for Social Justice was started in 2023. “The symposium aims to provide a platform for experts in the field of social justice education to engage in discourse around the need to transform society through pragmatic and innovative ways at the micro, meso and macro levels. The symposium aims to create an awareness of the need to disrupt comfort levels of t prevalent in various education contexts.”

He added that the symposium focuses on bringing students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in-service teachers and government officials, by creating spaces for meaningful dialogue by bringing theory and rigorous research to practice and policy.

Keynote speakers included: Prof Jonathan Jansen from Stellenbosch University; Prof Thaddeus Metz, from the University of Pretoria, and Dr Savo Heleta, from Durban University of Technology.

In his presentation, Jansen gave reasons “why professors of education should not teach future teachers”. “We have not taught in schools for decades. We norm our teaching on middle-class school standards. We frontload teacher education with theory and literature, he continued.

“Because of these factors we are far removed from the routines of management and teaching in working-class schools.”

Heleta delivered his presentation on Eurocentric education under coloniality and neoliberalism: How to envision socially just and decolonised education in South Africa? He said decolonisation was not even a footnote. “Most university leaders, academia, and policymakers weren’t bothered with the coloniality of knowledge and colonial and apartheid-era curriculum that continued long after 1994. Epistemic decolonisation became a buzzword in South African higher education in 2015-2016, primarily due to student activism under the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall banners.”

Metz, a Research Professor of Philosophy, made a presentation on Being Excluded from Knowledge for Its Own Sake: An Underappreciated Injustice.

Reflecting on the event, Dr Yohana William said the topic that Jansen presented was important at the current juncture where South Africa, as many other developing countries, “is still battling with redressing the current inequalities in education for future equities and pursuit of a good society as the symposium theme suggests”.

William said the education system is not neutral. “It is a tool or an instrument that reproduces and exacerbates the existing inequalities and classes through both the existing pedagogies and political/hegemonic decisions characterising the schooling process (what is and what is not).”

Meanwhile, Dr Andrew Wambua said Jansen stated that love and connection matter more than correct teaching. And that consistency in school management is key. He said according to Metz, if qualified people cannot access higher education, then that is injustice. “Education should reach masses and should not be offered just for the sake of it.” He added that Heleta urged the attendees to decolonise “our curriculum and thinking”. “Education remains deeply segregated. Societal inequalities are often on display at and between universities. There is a need for critical pedagogy and decoloniality to resist neoliberalism, coloniality, and Eurocentric hegemony.”

In his take-ways, Dr Adedayo Theodorio said Heleta pointed out that multilayered injustices are happening across the globe and that the injustices in many ways influence higher education. “Challenges such as the absence of justice, oppression, and dissociations in South Africa’s society remain a sickening root cause of inequality in the society and higher education.”

Theodorio said the Department of Higher Education and Training should consider decolonisation fully instead of neoliberal visions. “SA universities could consider collaborating with local universities in SA instead of entirely collaborating with foreign universities.”

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