|Open doors to future possibilities
|This initiative provides, in the first instance an opportunity for high school learners from disadvantaged communities to visit the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, specifically the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Many young people from disadvantaged communities do not have adequate resources to visit tertiary educational facilities and do not always know what their future career possibilities are. Furthermore, the transition from a school environment to a tertiary educational institution for learners can be intimidating and may be reflected in poor performance as a result of unique challenges faced within a tertiary educational institution. The focus at this stage is on the community of Delft, specifically at Voorbrug Secondary School. Delft has some of the highest crime rates in South Africa, and where unemployment and gangesterism is rife. School dropout rates are high at 52% with only 27% of persons over the age of 20 having successfully completed grade 12 (Statistics South Africa, 2011; Spaull, 2015). This high drop-out rate contributes to the poor socio-economic conditions in the area. This initiative will allow us to become more active citizens by engaging with our local communities and by bringing learners to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and specifically, to inform them about research activities in research laboratories within the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and demonstrate simple practicals that have relevance to their curriculum, for instance using the microscpe to see plant versus animal cells and arrange visits to other facilities within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, such as the Morphology Medical Learning Centre. This project also fosters collaboration within the Department of Biomedical Sciences between the divisions of Clinical Anatomy, Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, as well as the Division of Medical Physiology. Learners will be provided with literature regarding possible career paths and a list of bursaries available to students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Learners will also be provided an opportunity to be informed on health topics which have relevance to everyday life by attending the Physiology mini-symposium. In this way they can interact with undergraduate students, who would likely be role models to the learners in that they represent what they might would like to achieve later on, after secondary school. We would also like to ensure that learners leave with new knowledge and insight, which they can apply in their lives. The Division of Medical Physiology will also facilitate visits for educational workshop activities at Voorbrug Senior Secondary and presented by students and staff within the department of Biomedical Sciences. This will also include talks on health topics relevant in the community of Delft, topics from participants on their journey to the faculty, particularly those persons from environments similar to those of the learners. In addition, this provides an opportunity for undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff to apply their knowledge in the biomedical sciences, develop presentation skills and engage with the community. This is important for knowledge creation, professional development and promotes active citizenship and transformative learning. Furthermore, we acknowledge that many learners lack food security and need energy to remain focussed and to develop healthy minds and bodies, therefore we will provide learners with a meal during their visit. We would like this project to eventually help bridge the educational, cultural, social, health and economic divide that exists within our communities by targeting the youth who will eventually be the change-agents in their local communities, South Africa and the world at large. We hope that by opening the doors of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, we will be able to open up future possibilities for these young learners, which will uplift them, their communities, South Africa and the world at large.
|The Ex-Cell workshop is a Stellenbosch University(SU) prison partnership – the first of its kind in South Africa. Its aim is to rehumanise learning by focusing on learning's social, ubuntu-focused dimensions – collaboration, community-building and connectedness. This workshop has a theme of empowering participants to be better prepared for the business world. SU is partnering with the Drakenstein Prison near Paarl as well as the Incareration Nations Network.Given the current downturn in the economy, with record unemployment rates, this workshop is a capacity building workshop exposing participants to the ideas of creating their own businesses and/or potentially looking for employment. Parolees often struggle more than the general population to find employment due to their criminal history counting against them. This workshop, therefore, aims to upskill and create awareness of the situation as well as provide hope and linkage of opportunity and skills to participants.The Ex-Cell workshop outcomes are as follows: it aims to enable students to:· communicate effectively within the course context.· engage creatively with the course material with the aim of solving real-life problems.· function effectively as a member of a culturally diverse team.· take and maintain a point of view with respect to the various disciplines, as well as in relation to the interaction between disciplines, with due respect for the diversity of ideas.· reflect on their own learning and attitude to learning, and demonstrate learning growth/progression; and· have an increased commitment to the active promotion of social justice.