Daily Archives: May 26, 2017

XuetangX and Lagos University Launch Online Education Platform

BEIJING, May 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — During the celebration of the “International Engineering Education Forum” Dr. Nie Fenghua, the Deputy Director of the China Ministry of Education Online Education Research Center, and the Chairman of XuetangX, together with Prof. Funso Falade, who is the Chairman of the African Engineering Education Association, jointly released the Lagos University Online Educational platform (www.unilag.xuetangx.com).

The Forum was co-organized by Chinese Academy of Engineering and Tsinghua University, with the help of the UNESCO International Engineering Education Center (ICEE).The ICEE event was attended by important leaders of the education sector in China and other countries.

The releasing of Lagos University online education platform will transport global high-quality online educational resources to Africa, promoting the development of engineering education in Africa. At present, the English version of the platform will provide 16 courses.

On the morning of the 23rd, Mr. Funso Falade visited XuetangX’s Head Office where he met Dr. Nie Fenghua and the company Vice President Zhang Bo. Mr. Nie said, “XuetangX will gradually build 4 to 5 platforms in Africa. We hope to introduce MOOC courses from Lagos University so that Chinese learners can have a better understanding of the history and the culture of Africa.”

XuetangX is an MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) Chinese Education company, founded in 2013 by the Tsinghua University under the supervision of the China Ministry of Education. It has seven million Chinese students registered on their website where it offers them 1,000 online courses supported by first class Chinese and foreign Universities.

The platform is very easy to use. The teachers upload courses in the MOOC format (including videos, assessments, teaching materials, etc.). Students can watch videos and do assignments anywhere at any time and when they come back to classroom, the teacher normally explains some difficult key points using most of the time for practices and discussion.

Mr. Funso Falade expressed his gratitude for the platform launch. He actively encourages Lagos University faculties and students to utilize the platform in the teaching process. He also hopes that the Lagos University online education platform will become an Educational Hub in Africa.

Minister’s game plan for school sports

Cape Town � Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi has announced his department’s plans to strengthen school sport in the year ahead.

The Minister said this when he briefed the media ahead of delivering his maiden Budget Vote speech in his new portfolio at the National Assembly on Friday.

He said the department organises annual national school competitions across 16 prioritised sport codes.

While the system works well from a district up to provincial and national levels, the Minister said the challenge has been participation rates at circuit and school level. Approximately 6 000 out of 25 000 schools are participating.

Our plans to strengthen the School Sport Programme include to review and fully implement the Memorandum of Agreement that exists with the Department of Basic Education to ensure that access to physical education and sport is expanded across the school system.

This process is already underway, he said.

The Minister also said that his department will liaise with the Department of Social Development to coordinate the Expanded Public Works Programme to train early childhood development practitioners by providing trainers and material so that children in this phase can be trained in fine motor skills, which are critical to physical and sports development as they grow older.

The Minister said the department will cooperating with the Department of Higher Education on the pilot of the delivery of training courses for physical education teachers and coaches through the TVET colleges.

We are also working with SASCOC, representing the national federations, so that we both align with the Long Term Player Development strategy to build a unified and expanded skills pipeline across the schooling system so that talent can be identified and channelled from a much larger pool.

To this end, we will be training more talent scouts, among others, drawing on retired sports people, he said.

Minister Nxesi said because there can be no school sport without teachers, one of his priorities will be to engage teacher unions and to also meet with parent bodies.

The sheer number of stakeholders required to establish a coordinating platform or structure to provide the kind of coordination and alignment that the sector requires.

At a community sports level, the Minister said his department was seeking to cooperate with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and municipalities for the sharing of sports and recreational facilities.

Last year, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs agreed to ring-fence a percentage of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to build community sports facilities.

I am also pleased to announce that the Rural Sports Development Programme is already underway across all provinces.

This is based on a partnership with traditional authorities, as well as farming communities in the Western Cape.

The early knock-out rounds have taken place in all provinces with national championships scheduled for mid-year, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

President Jacob Zuma appoints Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as President of Supreme Court of Appeal

President Jacob Zuma has in terms of section 174 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, appointed Honourable Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal with immediate effect in an existing vacancy.

Justice Maya is the first woman to be appointed to the highest office at the Supreme Court of Appeal since the establishment of the Court in 1910.

Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic. We wish to congratulate her for being the first woman to occupy such a high position in the Judiciary and wish Justice Maya all the best in her new important responsibility of advancing our constitutional democracy, said President Zuma.

Source: Government of South Africa

South Sudan Frees UN Journalist After Two-year Detention

South Sudanese authorities released a journalist Thursday who had been detained without charges since August 22, 2014.

George Livio, who worked for the U.N.-sponsored Miraya FM radio station, had been arrested by national security operatives and detained at an unknown location.

The U.N. did not immediately provide a reason for Livio’s release, though the U.N. mission in South Sudan had been pushing for his freedom and that of two other staff members.

Several rights groups, including Amnesty International, had petitioned President Salva Kiir to intervene and release Livio.

VOA’s South Sudan in Focus reached Gelego Livio, the journalist’s father, by phone Friday in Khartoum.

“I got the news about half past 5 yesterday evening. He was released about midday, possibly,” Livio said.

Livio told South Sudan in Focus that he never received a reason for his son’s arrest from the government, but heard that the government thought he was “collaborating with Riek Machar,” the former first vice president who fled Juba shortly after a fresh outbreak of deadly fighting occurred in the capital in July.

The elder Livio said he and his wife were granted one visit with their son in March 2016. He said George Livio was being held at a Juba hospital.

Livio said he learned from his maternal uncle in Juba that his son had been freed Thursday.

“We, his mother and I, had a very, very exciting time last evening. Now, we really want to hear his voice,” said the father.

South Sudan in Focus directly contacted George Livio on Friday, but he declined to comment and referred the VOA program to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

A UNMISS spokesman, Daniel Dickinson, applauded Livio’s release and urged authorities to free other U.N. staff members in detention.

“The mission calls for the release of its two other national staff members who are currently also being held in detention without trial since 2014. UNMISS continues to call on the South Sudanese authorities to respect national law and the fundamental principles of due process under international human rights law,” Dickinson said.

Amnesty International said there has been an increase in illegal detentions since a civil war broke out in the country in 2013.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least five journalists have been killed in South Sudan since the country gained independence in 2011.

Source: Voice of America

Treasury on Denel Asia joint venture

We have noted media statements attributed to Denel in relation to the Denel Asia transaction. National Treasury would like to place on record that Minister Malusi Gigaba held a meeting with the Denel chairperson Mr Daniel Mantshe to discuss the Denel Asia joint venture.

At the meeting, Minister Gigaba reiterated his opposition to the joint venture with VR Laser Asia given the fragile financial situation that Denel is in. The Minister further invited Denel to withdraw its litigation against National Treasury. The position of the Minister of Finance has not changed in this regard.

He remains opposed to the transaction for reasons stated elaborately in the National Treasury affidavit to court.

The matter is currently before the courts and we would like to respect the process. We will, therefore, not be making any further comment until the matter has been finalized. We hope that the other parties will also respect the court process and refrain from misleading public comments.

Source: Government of South Africa