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5 important things happening in South Africa today – BusinessTech

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:


Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 3,962 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,572,860. Deaths have reached 93,846 (+139), while recoveries have climbed to 3,394,527, leaving the country with a balance of 84,487 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 29,251,262.


  • Cheap: Eskom says its electricity is cheap compared to other countries, as it continues to push for a 20.5%+ increase to tariffs in the coming year. The power utility presented comparisons at hearings on Thursday, showing that electricity prices in South Africa are lower than in many regions, including South and North America, Europe, and North Africa. Critics have pushed back against the comparisons, however, pointing out that electricity is actually delivered in those countries, while other presentations highlighted the massive mismanagement of funds by Eskom locally. [Moneyweb]

  • Matric results: As basic education minister Angie Motshekga hails the ‘best matric results in the history of the NSC’, political groups and organisations are calling for standards to be lifted – specifically, that pass marks be raised from 30% to 50%. The One SA movement has published a 10-point ‘education rescue plan’ which aims to uplift and improve the quality of education in South Africa. One SA has heavily criticised Motshekga, saying she has failed to improve education in the country. It says 20% of learners who enter schooling don’t make it to grade 3, and 80% of children can’t read for meaning by 10. [ENCA, OneSA]

  • No place: The EFF claims it was on a parliamentary oversight visit when its members stormed private businesses, threatened their staff, and in some cases forcibly shut them down. The party’s actions fly in the face of three previous court orders and judgements that condemned it for interfering in private business operations. The EFF previously looted, vandalised and shut down stores belonging to Clicks, H&M and Vodacom in similar acts of intimidation. At least three rulings have said the EFF has no place in employee relations at private businesses, in their operations, or their labour disputes. The EFF has ignored these rulings. [Daily Maverick]

  • Sisulu: Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu has effectively called president Cyril Ramaphosa a liar after the presidency issued a statement on Thursday saying that she had retracted and apologised for her comments criticising South Africa’s constitution and judiciary. However, following the statement’s release, Sisulu published follow-up comments distancing herself from the claims, saying that she stood by what she had previously stated and only discussed one aspect of her position in meetings with the president. [News24]

  • Markets: The South African rand forged higher on Thursday, extending strong gains made a day earlier when inflation figures bolstered the case for the central bank to raise interest rates next week. The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) first rate decision of 2022 is due on 27 January, with economists polled by Reuters predicting a 25 basis point increase in the repo rate to 4.00% and three further hikes before the end of the year. On Friday, the rand is trading at R15.21/$, R17.23/€ and R20.68/£. [Reuters]

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Education

MEC blames poor infrastructure for Limpopo's lower pass rate – SowetanLIVE

MEC Polly Boshielo addressing pupils, school principals and officials from the Department of education including MECs before handing over awards to the top performing learners.

MEC Polly Boshielo addressing pupils, school principals and officials from the Department of education including MECs before handing over awards to the top performing learners.

Image: Supplied

Limpopo MEC for education Polly Boshielo has blamed the lack of proper infrastructure, Covid-19 and other issues as contributing factors to the province’s declined matric pass rate in 2021.

The province has recorded 66.7% pass rate, a 1.5% drop from the previous year.

Boshielo, however, said she was more impressed with the quality of the results than quantity. 

“We should applaud the matric  class of 2021 for its continued resilience despite disruptions by Covid-19. Lack of infrastructure also forced us to overcrowd classes and which when you compare to private schools is twice the number,” she said.

Boshielo was speaking at the Ranch Hotel in Polokwane on Thursday where the province’s results were announced, and top achievers honoured.

The ceremony was attended by, educators government officials and Limpopo cabinet led by premier Stan Mathabatha.

Boshielo said she was happy that out of about 17,000 distinctions, 11,000 were achieved by female pupils while males scored a lowly total of  6,300.

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Education

Center for Science Education Inc. Trains Physics Teachers amid Poor Performances in Sciences – Front Page Africa

MONROVIA — The Center for Science Education Inc, a local non-profit Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education organization over the weekend in partnership with Helping Hands Network concluded a week-long training workshop for Physics teachers in optics and photonics experiments.

The training workshop was held in Kakata Margibi County and brought together fifteen teachers from public high schools across County.

Speaking at the opening, Mr. Jackson Mah, founder and CEO of the Center for Science Education Inc.  lauded the participants for honoring his organization invitation to participate in the training workshop, indicating that the lacks of trained science teachers, and laboratory infrastructure at most private and public schools has attributed to the poor performances of students at national exams especially the WASSEC, and as such, the training was being conducted so as to strengthen teachers’ capacity to adequately engage students and perform the required experiments.

 He disclosed further that the training was being sponsored by Helping Hands Networks through SPIE and was intended also to breach the gap created by the lack of trained science instructors in the Liberian school system.

 “In order to have students develop more interest in the sciences, and also have them pass the national exams, teachers have to be equipped” Mr. Mah told reporters at the end of the training in Kakata.

He urged the national Government through the Ministry of Education to ensure the establishment of STEM laboratory at public and private high schools across the Country.

Also speaking from a recorded video at the opening, Tilman Hartwig, Professor at the Tokyo University, Co-Founder and Oversea Coordinator of Helping Hands Network, welcomed participants to the training workshop.

He disclosed that his organization, Helping Hands Network has been organizing workshops for teachers in West Africa and has decided, haven received funding from SPIE to partner with Center for Science education Inc. to conduct this edition of the training workshop.

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“Many schools are not equip with the necessary materials or teachers are not train to effectively use the materials in the classroom therefore, it is our expectation that upon the completion of this training workshop, you will be able to conduct the required experiments and excite students about science” Professor Tilman added in his final statement.

At the closing of the Training workshop, each participating teacher was presented a certificate of participation and a set of lab equipment to includes, Retort stand with clamps, drawing board, geometry set, rectangular glass block, triangular prism, meter rule, spring, plane mirrors, optical pins, ray boxes etc.

 Mr. Mah who presented the science equipment disclosed to participants that the materials presented were donated by 2HN and advised teachers to use them wisely. 

In his final closing statement, Mr. Mah commanded the 2HN for the partnership.

Speaking on behalf of the participating teachers at the closing of the training, Mr. Mohammand J.Kemokai, Physics teacher from the Lango Lippaye High School expressed thanks and appreciation to Center for Science Education and the Helping Hands Network for organizing the training workshop.

He added further that the training was rewarding and believed that the knowledge acquired will great help them improve in those areas where they have had deficiencies.

 “I want to appreciate Helping Hands Network for the science equipment given us and I can assure 2HN them that we will use the material not only to inspire our students but also to ensure that their results in public exam especially in the area of physics improve,” Mr Kemokai said.  In his final statement, he appealed to Center for Science Education and 2HN to in the near future increase the length of days for such a workshop.

Mr. Mah disclosed plans to take similar training to other parts of the country. “We want to reach out to other Counties to improve the level in the teaching and learning of science and therefore currently engaging other partners including the Grand Kru Legislative to initiative some of our programs.

Center for Science Education has been involved in strengthening teacher’s capacity in the sciences and has successfully set-up science laboratory at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU), Soltiamon High School, Monrovia Colleague & Industrial Training School, Reunion Christian Academy (RECA) etc. The Organization also runs a Mobile Science Laboratory that visit schools enable students conduct practical experiments as required in the WASSEC curriculum.

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Education

End in sight for rotational school classes, education DG says – TimesLIVE

The full return to schooling for all pupils every day could be on the cards.

Basic education department director-general Mathanzima Mweli said on Thursday that the directors-general of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) met earlier in the day and supported a presentation by the basic education department to this effect.

“Our recommendation is that we want to see schooling fully back on track 100% and we hope that the recommendation will be endorsed by the NCCC [national coronavirus command council],” he said.

Mweli, who was delivering a technical report on the matric exams ahead of their official release, said President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet the command council later on Thursday evening.

“The president indicated yesterday that he was looking at possibilities of relaxing the Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.

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