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To prepare students for an emergency evacuation or egression in the event of a crash landing on water, the Survival Centre recently collaborated with the Department of Emergency Medical Sciences (EMS) to host a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) for 19 EMS students.

HUET is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to survive and escape from a helicopter that has ditched into the water. The primary aim is to ensure that students from the EMS programmes are prepared for real-life emergency scenarios involving helicopters, enhancing their overall emergency response capabilities. “This is essential training as EMS practitioners could be required to proceed to an emergency in a helicopter. Aeromedical rescue module is part of their curriculum, and thus Survival Centre and EMS collaborate to complete the outcomes and assessment,” said Senior Maritime Instructor and Manager: Survival Centre, Samantha Montes.

The HUET course provides several benefits to the EMS students as they experience a simulated helicopter ditching, both controlled and uncontrolled, which prepares them for actual emergencies. This hands-on approach helps bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application. The training helps students develop essential survival skills such as underwater escape, proper use of safety equipment, and techniques for staying calm under pressure.

By successfully completing the HUET course, students gain confidence in their ability to handle emergencies, which is crucial for their future roles as EMS professionals.

The training also emphasises teamwork and coordination, “which are vital skills for EMS professionals who often work in teams during emergencies”.

“The training day was a resounding success. All students, including those who needed to reattempt the escape, successfully passed the course. This indicates that the training effectively prepared students, allowing them to demonstrate proficiency in the skills taught. The success can be attributed to the well-structured programme, the expertise of the instructors, and the determination of the students.”

The training was conducted by experienced professionals, Cara Alberts, Ryan McConney and Colin Daniels who ensured high-quality instructions and safety throughout the course. Alberts is a maritime instructor with extensive experience in underwater escape training. McConney is a lab assistant/safety assistant who provided essential support and guidance during the practical exercises. Meanwhile Daniels, a lab assistant/safety assistant assisted in ensuring the smooth operation of the training sessions and student safety. Both lab assistants operated the winch controls for the HUET

A fourth year Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care student, Chumani Qinisile said: “For me it was adventurous, because I've never experienced such in my lifetime. When you outside, you think it's just a walk in the park but once you get inside the helicopter, that's where you realise that it's real. It was fun though.”

Chumani said the training shapes “your mindset” on how to react on those certain circumstances, not to panic and handle it in a very good manner and a manner that “will help you” survive such incident “if you ever come across it”. “I was not scared, just a little bit nervous. I love any activity that involves water in it, so for me it was just having fun.”

The second HUET training session will be held on 5 June and 20 students are expected to partake in the programme.

The Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Institutional Transformation Forum, extends its gratitude to a seasoned Psychosexual Educator, Delene van Dyk, for conducting a thought-provoking Gender Equity Workshop.

This session delved deep into the complexities of gender binaries and societal boxes, offering fresh perspectives and challenging conventional norms, observed Clive Brown, Chairperson of the Faculty of Education Transformation Committee. Brown said the workshop was designed to provide a profound understanding of four key concepts within the binaries and boxes framework: sex, gender, sexual orientation, and sexual pleasure. “Through this exploration, participants were encouraged to deconstruct rigid and linear notions of biological variance, sexual and gender identity, expression, and sexual behaviour. The session aimed to tackle heteronormativity head-on, reduce stereotypes, and debunk pervasive myths”

Targeting Intermediate Phase student-teachers, the workshop emphasised the importance of preparing future educators to navigate and teach in diverse and inclusive environments. The session was a crucial step in broadening the minds of these future professionals, equipping them with the knowledge and sensitivity required to address gender-related issues in both South African and global contexts.

Brown highlighted the extensive efforts involved in securing funding for this invaluable workshop. He expressed his gratitude to Byron Abrahams, Secretary of the Faculty of Education Transformation Committee, for his instrumental role in this process. Brown emphasised that financial support was essential to infuse the teaching curriculum with a focus on gender studies, a topic often overlooked amidst the diversity within higher education.

Van Dyk, a counsellor, and sexual health nurse with over thirty years of experience, currently serves as the Training and Education Manager at My Sexual Health’s sexology courses. Brown praised her ability to navigate through challenging questions and provided insightful commentary on topics that are often considered taboo in many South African households. He said: “Delene was simply excellent in navigating through questions, examples, and commentary which in many South African households is taboo or unquestionable. As a pertinent committee within the Faculty of Education, we believe that the transformation of behaviour through one's actions stems from the knowledge in which you engage. We will definitely have Delene back real soon. Thank you.”

He added that the workshop represented a significant step towards fostering a more inclusive and understanding educational environment, ensuring that CPUT's future educators are well-equipped to make a meaningful impact in the diverse classrooms they will lead.

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.”