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Dr Luhabe inspires future leaders at FVZS Honorary Lecture Luhabe inspires future leaders at FVZS Honorary Lecture<p>​<br></p><p>“We need bold and visionary leaders. We need leaders who can engage where there is no change and we need leadership that educates, inspires and empowers our communities."</p><p>These were some of the inspiring remarks from Dr Wendy Luhabe, who delivered the annual Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (FVZS) Honorary Lecture at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Tuesday evening, 14 August. The honorary lecture is organised by the FVZS Leadership Institute, which forms part of the Centre for Student Leadership and Structures and the overarching Division for Student Affairs at SU.</p><p>The lecture not only celebrates the life and values of the late former Chancellor of SU but also aims at encouraging critical and stimulating dialogue about our country and our continent.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, was also in attendance and reiterated the remarkable legacy of Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert. He said that Dr Van Zyl Slabbert served as an excellent example of an outspoken critic of apartheid at SU. “This year we honour the critical Matie voices of the past who would not be silenced despite being ostracised and one of those voices belonged to Dr Van Zyl Slabbert. He challenged injustice and helped build bridges across all kinds of divides in the search for common ground in our beloved country. And that has helped us to reach this point where today, in responsibility towards the present and future generations, Stellenbosch University commits itself unconditionally to the ideal of an inclusive, world-class university in and for Africa."</p><p>In her lecture, Dr Luhabe also encouraged South Africans to learn from the past and not be passive citizens. She was not only a friend of Dr Van Zyl Slabbert but is also considered as one of South Africa's most sought-after thought leaders and role models. The theme of her lecture was <em>Leadership choices</em> and she emphasised the importance of building entrepreneurs and nurturing future leaders by helping them to be the best that they can be.</p><p>“Those of us who have succeeded in life need to pay it forward. When we enable others to be the best that they can be, it is a beautiful gift to ourselves as well. If we all just change one life, it will make such a difference in our world," said Dr Luhabe.</p><p>Dr Luhabe is a social entrepreneur, human capital developer, thought leader and author, who has received four honorary doctorates in commerce, including from SU, for her pioneering contributions to the economic empowerment of women in South Africa. Over the past 20 years, she has received various international recognitions and awards for her work. In 2014, she was appointed Honorary Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by the Prince of Whales.</p><p>Dr Luhabe is passionate about leadership development in Africa and intergenerational dialogue with the aim of finding new solutions to Africa's challenges. Her lecture aimed to address some of those challenges and inspire those in attendance to help find solutions. “Each generation has a responsibility to invoke change. All you need to do is show up. Once we show up, we can bring our talents together to build a new and successful South Africa," said Dr Luhabe. <br></p><p>In the photo: Wendy Luhabe. Photo by <span style="font-family:calibri,sans-serif;font-size:11pt;">Henk Oets.</span><br></p>2018-08-19T22:00:00Z 2018-08-19T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communications/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Rozanne Engel)
Maties want to end student hunger with big collective initiative want to end student hunger with big collective initiative<p><strong> R10 million in 100</strong> days to create sustainable food banks on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses to ensure that, for the next three years, no Matie has to study on an empty stomach. This is the ambitious aim of Stellenbosch University's (SU) student-inspired <strong>#Move4Food</strong> drive, which will be launched today (20 August) and run until 27 November 2018, which is Giving Tuesday at SU.</p><p>Giving Tuesday has expanded from the United States in recent years to become a global day of giving.</p><p>Students, staff and alumni will engage in a wide range of peer to peer fundraising activities, like participating in the upcoming Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 23 September 2018, to raise funds for the cause. Olympic Games silver medallist and SU alumna Elana Meyer challenged Maties rector and vice-chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers to take part in the race, and he accepted.</p><p>Earlier this year, De Villiers participated in the Cape Town Cycle Tour with alumni and friends of the University to raise money for student bursaries, and he is already practising hard for the marathon in September. He has previously run the 'Big 5' marathons – Boston, New York, London, Chicago and Berlin.</p><p>“One student that goes hungry on our campus is one too many," says De Villiers. “I am putting my time, energy and money into fighting student hunger – and I challenge staff, students, donors, alumni and friends of the University, as well as the general public, to do the same. Let's team up to help our students finish their race."</p><p>Over 60 runners have already signed up and 20 <a href="">fundraising pages</a> have been created. Among others, the SU Registrar, Dr Ronel Retief, have entered the 10km race.</p><p><strong>Launch event</strong></p><p>The launch event on Monday 20 August takes place on the Rooiplein on the Stellenbosch Campus. The event includes a mini-concert at 12:00 while a fundraising concert will take place in the Endler Hall in Victoria Street at 13:00. Entrance fee is anything between R10 and R100 or a non-perishable food item.<br></p><p><br> </p>Food insecurity prevalent food insecurity and the need for the most basic items are becoming more prevalent among students in South Africa. Despite perceptions that SU maintains a privileged position, at least 6 in every 100 newcomer students (first years and first-year postgraduate students) at SU are at risk. This translates into 465 newcomers (out of a total of 7744) – compounded by students in other years.<div><em><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Move4FoodGetInvolved.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Move4FoodGetInvolved.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:450px;" /></em></div><p>“No student should be without food or basic needs," says Mr Ben Moolman, Student Representative Council member for Strategic Initiatives and Leadership Development. “We want to create a sustainable solution for students. Although the need goes far beyond food, this is now the most urgent need."</p><p>With the recent announcement of fee-free education, there is a general perception that students from working-class families receive financial support that covers all their university costs. “Not so," says Karen Bruns, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations. “There are caps on each expense component, like tuition, accommodation and food allowances. This results in shortfalls that the student is still liable for. The most pressing times for students are at the beginning of the year when students are still waiting for funding to be approved and just before final exams, when the food allowances dry up," she explains.  </p><ul><li><em>Those who want to support #Move4Food can sign up to run in the Cape Town marathon or make an online donation to the cause: </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em> </em></li><li><em>There are various other ways to #Move4Food as well, including virtual races, activity tracker challenges, sports days, commuting to work and making a cash donation. Visit </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em> for some fun suggestions.</em></li><li><em>Send an e-mail to </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em> for more information.</em></li></ul><p><em>  </em></p><p><strong>MORE ABOUT FOOD INSECURITY</strong></p><p>A recent study by the National Research Foundation has revealed that more than 30% of university students are food insecure. These findings were announced at the National Colloquium on Access to Food for Student, hosted in the Western Cape this week, seeking to find solutions to an emerging 'hunger crisis'.</p><p>Discussions centred on the effects that hunger plays in the student dropout rate. “If people are hungry‚ they cannot concentrate‚ they become stressed and anxious. A number of these students are working on top of studying and this‚ too‚ affects their academic performance," says Stephen Devereux of the National Research Foundation.</p><p><em>(Source: </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>)</em></p><ul><li><strong>Click </strong><a href=""><strong>here</strong></a><strong> for an article on food insecurity<br><br>Picture: </strong><em>Elana Meyer challenges Maties rector to participate in the marathon </em></li></ul><p><em>  </em></p><p><br> </p>2018-08-19T22:00:00Z 2018-08-19T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communications Division
Diversity makes for a dynamic workplace makes for a dynamic workplace<p>​Although gender equality is an age-old discussion, it remains a controversial topic.<br></p><p>Two prominent researchers in the field, Ronald Burke and Susan Vinnicombe, argue that gender has become a "business issue" rather than merely a "woman's issue".</p><p>Given increasing competition for a limited talent pool, the quality of a company's human capital could be a competitive advantage. The gender composition of boards and top management therefore increasingly gain attention from policy makers, the media and researchers. International and local statistics, however, show that less than 20% of directors are females.</p><p>In 2007, two US researchers, Alice Eagly and Linda Carli, argued that the glass ceiling metaphor was no longer apt in the 21st century.</p><p>They said women were not challenged by one obstacle, but encounter several difficulties to advance their careers.</p><p>They proposed an alternative metaphor of a labyrinth as women are confronted by work-life balance issues, discrimination at work and prejudice based on their gender.</p><p><strong>Nomination committees should source promising women board candidates and offer them support</strong></p><p>There have been reports of successful women being reluctant to support other women — the so-called queen bee syndrome. Women also experience self-doubt and guilt due to an inability to achieve a work-life balance. A lack of access to corporate networks to advance women's careers has also been noted by researchers.</p><p>The debate on board gender diversity changed over the past two decades. In the 2000s, proponents offered several reasons why gender diversity should be encouraged. Researchers reported that women brought fresh perspectives to boardroom discussions, were less likely to resort to group thinking and had a more collaborative leadership style than men. If there were open communication channels, people tended to be more comfortable about voicing their concerns, resulting in a constructive atmosphere to share ideas. But diverse opinions may result in conflict and slower decision-making.</p><p>The debate shifted from reasons for limited female directors and why this status quo should be tackled to a discussion on how corporate female participation could be encouraged.</p><p>Some women complain that it is difficult to obtain access to male-dominated corporate networks. The term homosociality refers to the general orientation to associate with individuals like oneself. Men often tend to associate with other men when forming corporate networks.</p><p>Both sexes should, however, be encouraged to avoid homosocial networks and rather engage with directors from both sexes to learn from each other's experiences.</p><p>Companies should continuously grow and develop the talent pipeline by allocating (more) resources to developing promising female employees. Line managers should provide challenges to women to prepare them for career advancement. Their job satisfaction should be regularly monitored.</p><p>If continuous development, further studies and mentorships are encouraged, the director talent pool will be enlarged.</p><p>According to the critical mass theory, three or more women directors are required to really bring about corporate change. Nomination committees should source promising women board candidates and offer them development support.</p><p>Companies should also review their work policies for parents to facilitate and support work-life balance. There should be a focus on the quality of an employee's work rather than the number of hours spent at a desk. If long working hours are reduced, women might have more flexibility to meet their family responsibilities.</p><p>Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg sets an example.</p><p>She leaves work at 5.30pm to spend time with her family. More women should follow her example and support or request family-friendly policies.</p><p>Men should also be encouraged to take advantage of family-related benefits. Household responsibilities should be shared, to allow both partners to develop their careers.</p><p>Another option to advance board gender diversity is legislation. In Norway, female board diversity is enforced by means of a quota, while former Labour government minister Lord (Mervyn) Davies introduced female board targets in the UK.</p><p>But board gender diversity should not be legislated in SA.</p><p>In light of gender activist Germaine Greer's comment that "if a women never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got?", women should make the most of the opportunities offered to them. They should challenge their firms to enlarge women's access to mentoring and other development opportunities to ensure a more equal workplace, not only at board level, but throughout companies.</p><p>By Prof Suzette Viviers and Dr Nadia Mans-Kemp are academics at the Department Of Business Management at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>This <a href="">article</a> appeared first in the <em>Business Day</em><br></p><p><br> </p>2018-08-19T22:00:00Z 2018-08-19T22:00:00.0000000ZProf Suzette Viviers and Dr Nadia Mans-Kemp
SciMathUS helping students achieve their dreams helping students achieve their dreams<p>​<br></p><p>There is a well-known Confucius quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." For students participating in the Science and Mathematics at Stellenbosch University (SciMathUS) Programme, this quote is especially significant.</p><p>SciMathUS students are not only given a second chance to qualify for higher education through the programme but they are also given an opportunity to participate in the SciMathUS Graduate Employability Initiative (SGEI), which helps them make informed career decisions and exposes them to the dream job they love.</p><p>The SGEI is a collaborative effort between SciMathUS, based at Stellenbosch University, and Thyme2B, a career and employability coaching company. The goals of the SGEI are to support current SciMathUS students to make informed career choices and to build and enhance their self-confidence and their people and soft skills. A next phase includes assisting fFormer SciMathUS students in developing and expanding their social networks during their higher education journey and supporting them in making the transition into first-time employment.</p><p>According to Dr Elza Lourens, a SciMathUS facilitator and the one who spearheads the SGEI, helping students with career choices and building social networks are vital to their career success. “Research shows that accessing the job market becomes increasingly difficult if a prior possible work network is not built. With the SGEI, we want to help students explore their passion and help them to decide on careers that will be best for them in the long term."</p><p>The SGEI was founded in March this year and is still in its pilot phase pending funding to continue helping SciMathUS students in the future. The initiative has helped the 100 current SciMathUS students with career choices and the development of networks. One of those students is Karabo Thobejane, a current SciMathUS student interested in Astronomy and Astrophysics. He was able to visit the South African Astronomy Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town to talk and spend the day with astrophysicist Mrs Shazrene Mohammed.</p><p>“Mrs Shazrene was very friendly and explained how things work in the career field of Astronomy. I was also fortunate to chat with other SAAO staff, astronomers, PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows at the SAAO. SciMathUS has so far been very critical to my growth. I learned that knowledge without understanding is worthless," says Thobejane.</p><p>Apart from career opportunities, the SGEI also helps develop students' people and communication skills in order to be able to ask the right questions and promote themselves effectively. According to Anuschka Bennet, a current SciMathUS student interested in Architecture and Civil Engineering, going through the SGEI has given her a sense of confidence, encouragement and fulfilment.</p><p>“The SciMathUS programme is definitely an enriching environment for people who are keen on developing their academic and critical thinking skills. I have developed an immense sense of diligence in SciMathUS, the programme has really helped me open up my mind to the unending opportunities there are in tertiary studies and showing me many different career fields," says Bennet.</p><p>The SGEI offers various workshops, coaching sessions, assessments, group interventions and conversations, to provide SciMathUS students with enough information to make informed decisions about their choice of career.</p><p>For more information on the SGEI and the SciMathUS programme, contact Dr Elza Lourens at 021 808 2608 or <a href=""></a>. <br></p><p>​</p><p>Photo: SciMathUS students visit a Radiologist.<br></p>2018-08-14T22:00:00Z 2018-08-14T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communications/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Rozanne Engel)
SU hackathon promoting entrepreneurship hackathon promoting entrepreneurship<p>​​<br></p><p>Ever wondered how life would be if you could order your food at the Neelsie while you're still elsewhere?</p><p>Imagine student life improved with great new on-the-go capabilities using your mobile phone to help you and your friends get more done, more quickly and more securely.</p><p>Creating seamless payments or information-sharing experiences for consumers has become a key differentiating factor for many businesses and institutions.</p><p>Innovus is therefore challenging you and your team to show us what you can do in the fintech-themed hackathon to be held from 17 to 19 August at the LaunchLab on Stellenbosch Campus.</p><p>The hackathon is sponsored by Entersekt and Capitec and is organised by Innovus in partnership with the LaunchLab and Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>Innovus is looking for 40 talented student programmers, designers, builders and engineers to come together to learn and, from there, to develop and share creative ideas to solve industry-relevant problems in innovative ways. The two industry sponsors will set and introduce various problem statements at the beginning of the event and at the end of the event the teams pitch their solutions. The most innovative team with the best solution will win a grand prize to the value of R25 000.</p><p>According to Nolene Singh, Manager: Technology Transfer, Innovus and Commercialisation, the aim of the hackathon is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit on campus and to create entrepreneurial awareness. “It is Innovus and the LaunchLab's goal to increase the number of quality ideas entering their business development and support programmes by providing entrepreneurship support and creating an innovation culture among the students across all faculties at Stellenbosch University. Increasing the entrepreneurial and innovation culture across Stellenbosch University campus is of great importance to create and sustain a successful innovation knowledge region in the greater Stellenbosch area."</p><p>Besides the participants being mentored by SU industry partners and sponsors Entersekt and Capitec during the hackathon, the event may also lead to job opportunities for graduates, parallel career development for young researchers and a positive impact on the local developer community through the sharing of innovative ideas and through networking within the community.</p><p>Students who are interested in applying for the hackathon will need the following skills:</p><ul><li>Mobile programming (iOS, Android or Cordova)</li><li>A basic understanding of how to use SDKs and APIs (SOAP)</li><li>The creativity to design simple and rewarding experiences</li></ul><p>Students will also be able to use the following technologies:</p><ul><li>Alexa speech API</li><li>Bluetooth beacons</li><li>QR code or barcode scanners</li><li>NFC tokens</li></ul><p>Entries are open to SU students only and closes this afternoon (14 Tuesday 2018).</p><p>Visit <a href=""></a> to enter. <br></p><p><br> </p>2018-08-13T22:00:00Z 2018-08-13T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Rozanne Engel)
EFF's strategy will destroy the asset value of a large portion of SA's land's strategy will destroy the asset value of a large portion of SA's land<p>The following article by Wandile Sihlobo and Johann Kirsten was published in <strong>Business Day</strong> on 30 July 2018. Sihlobo is head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber and Kirsten director of the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University.</p><ul><li>​To read the article in Business Day, <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-5"><strong>click here​</strong></span></a>.<br></li></ul><p><br> </p><p><em>The expropriation of commercial land and farms could negatively affect food security and agricultural growth, write Wandile Sihlobo and Johann Kirsten.</em><br></p><p>In its 54th national conference report and resolutions, the governing ANC highlighted that the interventions regarding expropriation of land without compensation would largely focus on government-owned land, prioritising the "redistribution of vacant, unused and underutilised state land, as well as land held for speculation and hopelessly indebted land".</p><p>It remains to be seen if commercial land or farms will be part of the expropriation process. Tampering with such areas would potentially have a negative effect on food security and agricultural growth — an outcome that the ANC is trying to avoid.</p><p>Meanwhile, the EFF opposition party argues that all land should be nationalised, or "wholesale expropriation without compensation" should be applied. In such a scenario the effect would not only be limited to land for food and agricultural production, but would also — according to its proposal — include land for housing and for industrial and retail use. We argue in this article that this strategy will by default destroy the asset value of a large portion of SA's land and could by definition also have a large negative impact on financial institutions and the property market.</p><p>A bit of background: in March 2018, outstanding bank credit to the private sector (businesses and households) totalled R3.5-trillion, according to the South African Reserve Bank June 2018 Quarterly Bulletin. Of this, mortgages accounted for 39% (R1.4-trillion), with households accounting for 68% (R929bn). Put into context, the amount of mortgage exposure (households and corporates) that the banks have is equivalent to 29% of South African annual GDP (at March 2018).</p><p>This includes, predominantly, credit extended to buy houses and vacant land for building a residential structure. In SA, the general practice is that banks fund up to 40% of the acquisition of vacant land — which happens to be in line with the areas identified for expropriation within the ANC documents. In the case of free-standing houses, the value of land is built into the selling price, while flat or apartment owners generally have an undivided share in the land on which the structure is built, which is owned jointly through a body corporate.</p><p>Furthermore, it is estimated that about 70% of all residential property transactions in SA involve freehold property. This implies that a large majority of housing transactions include, directly or otherwise, private land acquisition. The state assuming ownership of all land without compensation therefore means, from a consumer perspective, a loss of the land component of the acquisition, while retaining the ownership of the building structure. As the law reads, the land portion cannot be disconnected from the immobile asset such as a building or a house in SA's application of property law.</p><p>For an average household in this country, the property represents its largest investment from which its members derive wealth.</p><p>At an aggregate level Reserve Bank data show that net wealth (the value of residential buildings minus mortgage advances) derived from residential buildings as at December 2017 was about 16% of households' net wealth. This, however, conceals the true contribution of residential property to households' balance sheet. This is because pension funds, which is households' biggest component of financial assets, also invest in property via the equity market. This excludes households themselves investing directly into the equity market and also indirectly via other investment vehicles such as unit trusts.</p><p>An aggregation of all this shows that the destruction of all property value would have serious implications for SA's national asset base and the foundation of the economy.</p><p>Hence, we have continued to argue that a wholesale or blanket expropriation of land without compensation policy or approach could be viewed as a destruction of land value, some of which is financed by debt.</p><p>The often cited figure is that of agricultural debt, which was estimated at R158bn in 2017, according to data from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. But, if we consider the aforementioned components of the economy, the effect could be much wider. The exact value of this component remains unclear, but as demonstrated by the numbers above, it is likely to be significant.</p><p>In terms of the agricultural debt, the effect would not only be felt by the commercial banks. The government also has "skin in the game" through the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of SA (Land Bank), which accounts for nearly a third of agricultural debt.</p><p>The balance is accounted for by commercial banks, agricultural co-operatives, private persons and other institutions.</p><p>The Land Bank presents an interesting picture in terms of its exposure in the agricultural land and long-term credit market. At the end of 2017 the long-term loans and loans secured by mortgages owed to the Land Bank was worth R16.2bn (of which R8.5bn was for individual mortgages). The Bank has also provided cash advances to agribusiness and co-operatives equal to R25.5bn. With some other advances and loans, the total assets are equal to R46.56bn, which is then financed via the bank's liabilities (mainly promissory notes and Land Bank bills).</p><p>Many of the cash advances to agribusiness are also on-lend to farmers to acquire farm land, which implies that the farmers' land exposure of the Land Bank and the agribusiness could easily be at least 50% of the Bank's total asset base. A land policy scenario described above will therefore also risk the Land Bank's financial stability and one could foresee that roughly R20bn-R30bn of the state budget will have to be used to save the bank.</p><p>In terms of section 8 of the Expropriation Act, an expropriation will extinguish a mortgage bond, but not the debt.</p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-5">“Considering these components, the question then becomes, should a property owner continue servicing their loan when they no longer have ownership rights to that property or a component thereof, and the bank has no security to fall back on?"​</span><br></p><p>​Simply put, if the land is expropriated, the owner still owes the bank, but it becomes an unsecured loan (which would typically be associated with a higher interest rate).</p><p>Considering these components, the question then becomes, should a property owner continue servicing their loan when they no longer have ownership rights to that property or a component thereof, and the bank has no security to fall back on?</p><p>Furthermore, should financial institutions — and real-estate corporations — simply write off their assets on their balance sheet?</p><p>Wholesale expropriation of land without compensation therefore could be likely to trigger a major devaluation of financial institutions' assets, and ultimately their balance sheets. (The blanket expropriation approach is somewhat different from the ANC's official views, as outlined in its documents, but more in line with the EFF's position.)</p><p>Corporations are valued on the strength of their balance sheets, which affects their ability to raise capital and fund expansionary projects. Ultimately, this could trigger a disruptive stock market repricing. At the same time, the nationalisation scenario could trigger a liquidity risk in the Land Bank and other commercial banks. Given the size of the outstanding debt illustrated above, it is unlikely that the state will be in a position to financially rescue these institutions.</p><p>In our previous article published on July 9 2018, we demonstrated the value of property rights, using land as an asset, and its role in a market-based economy such as SA's that is an integral part of the global economy. The cases presented show that in the event of the nationalisation of land, the potential beneficiaries will not be able to build wealth without assets anyway. We further argued that nationalisation will not enrich anyone, but will rather be a nightmare for the state and its citizens.</p><p>The aforementioned implications of the linkages of land to the overall economy suggests that the negative consequences could be rather far-reaching and would not yield any value to potential beneficiaries of the process anyway.</p><p>These arguments do not imply that we should not urgently deal with the inequality in land ownership. It is necessary that we implement a decentralised and effective land-reform programme to restore land rights to the majority of our people.</p><p>There is, however, a much more responsible solution that will not destroy our financial sectors, our pension funds and our economy. We will share views and ideas regarding a possible workable concept in our final article of this series in Business Day in two weeks' time.<br></p>2018-08-12T22:00:00Z 2018-08-12T22:00:00.0000000ZWandile Sihlobo & Johann Kirsten
Female principals in South Africa: the dynamics that get in the way of success principals in South Africa: the dynamics that get in the way of success<p>​<br></p><p>There are two dominant narratives in research about female principals and educational leadership. The first centres on women's struggles in accessing leadership positions – internal and external. The second relates to what women must deal with in retaining those positions.<br></p><p>Both narratives are underscored by a common theme: that leadership positions in schools are male-dominated. What's missing is women principals' identities as leaders in relation to race, culture, ethnicity, religion, class, and sexuality.</p><p>Women are under-represented in school leadership positions. This is despite significant shifts towards gender equity over the past two decades. Female teachers make up about 68% of the country's teaching force. But <a href="">only 36%</a> of principals are women.</p><p><a href="">In my study</a>, I set out to understand and explore the lived experiences and stories of female principals, rather than simply looking at their perceived barriers and challenges.</p><p>My findings suggest that female principals in South Africa follow very different routes in pursuit of leadership positions. Their own identities as leaders are both informed and inhibited by a range of complex interrelated factors. To tackle the issues they deal with, changes are necessary at the policy level – and women educational leaders also need to shift parameters and perceptions, both in relation to pre-existing traditional, patriarchal norms as well as their own autonomy and agency.</p><p><strong>A leadership identity</strong></p><p>The study focused on six female principals. All had been teachers for at least 20 years. They taught at the same schools where they were appointed as principals. None had ever worked for a woman principal before.</p><p>The women told me they'd all fulfilled leadership responsibilities before being appointed to the top job. And all maintained that they would not have been considered for their positions without their male predecessors' endorsement.</p><p>The most significant finding was that all the principals I interviewed expressed high levels of self-doubt. They all considered themselves more than qualified and deserving of their positions. And they reported feeling comfortable in attending to academic and administrative matters.</p><p>But they retreated from certain parts of their jobs once appointed. For instance, they avoided managing conflict among staff. They delegated disciplinary responsibilities to male teachers. They chose not to take the lead in the financial management of the school. It is unclear whether this practice is common in other professions. What we do know is that schools are deeply embedded in the communities in which they are located, and often adopt and emulate the same normative practices of that particular communities.</p><p>There are many complex reasons for this. One is that it is not possible to disconnect leadership practices from context, social structures and power relations including embedded norms and functions associated with gender.</p><p>Most of the principals reported tensions and feelings of displacement – a sense of non-belonging and uncertainty – in their positions, and in their relationships with both male and female colleagues. Two reported very poor relationships with female colleagues, in particular, and three told me that they were considering resigning. This echoes <a href="">existing research</a> about how many women leave educational leadership positions prematurely.</p><p><strong>Internal factors</strong></p><p><a href="">Research typically identifies</a> a number of external factors that preclude women from occupying leadership positions. These include family and home responsibilities, working conditions and sex discrimination, as well as a lack of support from both family and colleagues.</p><p>But, as <a href="">my study</a> shows, the influence of internal factors, such as poor self-confidence, can't be discounted.</p><p>None of the six women reported a lack of support or pride from family members. But all of them reported feelings of guilt in not “making enough time for family".</p><p>These findings correlate with other <a href="">international studies</a> on educational leadership which maintain that the reason female principals are under-represented has less to do with external barriers and discrimination than it does with women's understanding of themselves.</p><p>So it might be a lack of leadership identity which inhibits women, rather than specific barriers which hold them back. This means that while they might be seen as “disrupting" traditional male spaces, they do not (yet) have a leadership identity which allows them to believe in and assert their own capacity as leaders.</p><p>To change this, policies will need to change. No policy about principals in South Africa gives attention to the complexity of the challenges they face. Rather, leadership is approached as a set of pre-determined key performance indicators. Policies need to be designed in a way that allows women to recognise their experiences.</p><p>Women have a role to play here, too. They are the only ones who can shift parameters and perceptions. This is true in relation to pre-existing traditional, patriarchal norms as well as their own autonomy and agency. While external barriers do exist and must be tackled, women principals should also begin to presume that they are equal to men. They deserve to be in leadership positions. There's no need to wait for permission.</p><p>Article by:Prof  <a href="">Nuraan Davids</a></p><p>Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education, Stellenbosch University</p><p>This article appeared first on The Conversation<br></p><p> </p><p><br> </p>2018-08-12T22:00:00Z 2018-08-12T22:00:00.0000000ZProf Nuraan Davids
How biobanks can help improve the integrity of scientific research biobanks can help improve the integrity of scientific research<div style="text-align:justify;"><em>​This article was originally published on </em><a href=""><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. Read the full article </em><a href=""><em>here</em></a><em>.</em></div><div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br> </div><div><p style="text-align:justify;"><a href="">Biobanks</a> are repositories that receive, store, process and disseminate specimens. These include DNA derived from humans and animals; bacterial strains; and environmental samples like plants and soil. Biobanks also provide the vital infrastructure for research to support scientific advancement and innovation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the developed world, biobanks are well established and generally well-funded and supported. There are also biobanks in the developing world like regions in Africa, most notably in South Africa and Nigeria – but the technology is really still in its infancy. Simple issues like internet connectivity, access to reliable water and electricity supply, which are all necessary to run biobanks, are common. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet it's in the developing world that biobanks could be especially powerful tools. For example, having access to the rich genetic diversity across Africa would allow researchers to understand disease, develop better diagnostics and treatments, <a href="">medicines and vaccines</a>, geared toward the continent's population. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Crucially, they can also improve scientists' ability to replicate results and experiments, a process known as <a href="">reproducibility</a>. This is very important because being able to reproduce research verifies results and means it can be trusted. Biobanks have high quality assurance and control measures in place, making them safe, reliable spaces to store material for repeated testing that could lead to trustworthy science that saves lives.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is why low and middle income countries, like those in Africa, should prioritise setting up biobanks despite the high cost and other challenges.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>A reproducibility crisis</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">A <a href="">recent study</a> has shown that, across the world, scientists' ability to reproduce research is staggeringly low. More than 70% of the 1500 scientific participants in the study could not replicate other scientists' experiments. And half were unable to replicate their own experiments. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This costs a huge amount of money. In the US alone, the estimated financial burden of not being able to replicate research translates to approximately <a href="">$28 billion per year</a> that's being spent on life science research which cannot be replicated. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Why don't researchers rigorously investigate the reproducibility of experimental works before releasing the findings? There are a few reasons. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Firstly, research costs money; costs for any lab are already high and staff may not want to spend more than they believe is necessary.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Secondly, reproducing experiments takes time – and when scientists are developing novel therapies for diseases, for instance, time can cost lives.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The study also identified study design, biological samples, laboratory protocols, and data analysis and reporting as issues. So it stands to reason that implementing standard best practices and adhering to them could partially ease <a href="">the crisis</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">That's where biobanks come in.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Quality assurance</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Most biobanks, whether small or large, have high quality assurance and control measures in place. Without this, they won't generate the trust needed to function well. They ensure that sample transportation, processing, storage and analysis are done according to standard methods. They manage risk to ensure the biospecimens they store for different researchers or teams are viable and retain their quality. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Biobanks which follow best practice guidelines can be mediators for reproducible scientific research as they ensure that protocols are applied in a standardised, harmonised way. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This means that researchers who use a biobank can have some level of comfort that, at a bare minimum, any biological sample used in an experiment is consistent and controlled. For example, biobanks that use <a href="">Laboratory Information Management System</a> software can track and log a sample's life cycle to ensure its quality hasn't been compromised. For example, <a href="">Baobab LIMS</a> was developed at the University of the Western Cape as a management system for human biobanks.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Sample quality is critical in research, as it will influence later analysis. Biobanks are also an important tool for smaller laboratories that don't have the finances to get international accreditation, or don't have the right equipment for analysing specific samples.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Benefits outweigh costs</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It may seem like a no-brainer to establish biobanks everywhere, given all the benefits they offer.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">But there are some barriers to this happening in the developing world. Cost is one. Biobanks are generally non-profit. Non-commercial medical biobanks cannot sell specimens, as this would equate to trade in human tissue and is unethical. So biobanks' fee structure is aimed entirely at cost-recovery.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">There's also a lack of highly skilled and trained personnel. There are some international certificates and courses specifically for biobanking, offered in <a href="">North America</a> and <a href="">Europe</a> but for the most part, skilled scientists could be trained to become proficient and staff biobanks.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These issues should be dealt with by policy makers, governments and science stakeholders. The benefits of establishing more biobanks clearly outweigh the costs – especially in the face of the ever increasing direct and indirect cost of research that cannot be reproduced and the growing need to preserve Africa's rich genomic resources.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>About the authors:</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Dominique Anderson works for the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape and is funded by the National Research Foundation and EU Horizon 2020 program. </em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Alan Christoffels receives funding from South African Medical Research Council, The National Research Foundation and the European Union Horizon2020 Programme on Biobanking Infrastructure. </em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Carmen Swanepoel works in a small academic biobank associated with Stellenbosch University and the National Health Laboratory Services. The NSB biobank was started with research grant funds from various source that includes, EU and NIH, SU and NHLS.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Pixabay</em><br></p></div></div>2018-08-09T22:00:00Z 2018-08-09T22:00:00.0000000ZDominique Anderson, Alan Christoffels & Carmen Swanepoel
Landmark legal action set to change the South African debt collection landscape legal action set to change the South African debt collection landscape <p>An application was filed with the Western Cape High Court today (8 August) in which the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic, Summit Financial Partners (Summit), and 10 of their clients request judicial intervention relating to debt collection practices. The intervention has the potential to dramatically impact on the South African financial landscape.<br></p><p>The case follows in the wake of the Clinic's earlier work in the 2016 landmark Constitutional Court case of <em>University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic & others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services & Others</em>, where the highest court in the country agreed that several practices relating to the abuse of emolument attachment orders, were unconstitutional. </p><p>Two years on, the applicants have approached the court regarding what they identify as the unilateral, unregulated manner in which creditors and collection agents add costs, including legal fees, to debtors' accounts both before and after judgement. </p><p>As a result of this practice, which they say is in contravention of section 103(5) as read with section 101(1)(b) to (g) of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, financial experts at Summit have estimated that more than a billion rand has been illegally over deducted from thousands of distressed debtors by unscrupulous credit providers. In the case of just one of these debtors, who is also one of the applicants in this matter, an amount of R5 100 had been collected on an initial debt of R600. </p><p>“The fact that 49 respondents, including all the main banks and major lending institutions, have been joined to the application, is indicative of the impact that this case could have on the South African credit market," comments Dr Theo Broodryk, Head of the Law Clinic.<br></p><p><br> </p>2018-08-08T22:00:00Z 2018-08-08T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Martin Viljoen)
Ensuring a brighter Tomorrow a brighter Tomorrow<p>​The future looks bright for six Matie students who have received bursaries from the Tomorrow Trust, a generous Stellenbosch University (SU) donor and non-profit organisation that was started in 2005 to support high need, high potential children throughout their educational journey.​<br></p><p>Thanks to these bursaries, the recipients – who would not, had the opportunity to attend university due to financial constraints and whose study fields range from Medicine and Economics to Agriculture - will get the opportunity to reach their full potential as self-sustaining and proactive members of society.</p><p>"Education for us is the vehicle that drives change in the lives of individuals, in a way that allows them to better their own circumstances, their families’ lives, their communities as well as contribute on a macro-level to the South African economy," says Stacey Rontiris, Head of Post-Secondary & Counselling Psychologist at the Tomorrow Trust.</p><p>"The approach that we take towards education is not only academic but rather focuses on supporting students in a holistic manner, allowing them to grow in a way so that they may become self-sustainable, independent individuals. This is done in many ways through our various programmes, but our ultimate goal is always to help our students be the best versions of themselves. We do not have a 'one shoe fits all' policy, but rather provide individualised and tailored support for each learner," Rontiris adds.</p><p>According to Rontiris, the Tomorrow Trust has supported a small number of students at SU since 2013, but this year decided to support a larger cohort.</p><p>She says they made this decision following the impressive direction the University has taken over the past few years, coupled with the calibre of Maties students they have come across. "In collaborating, we have been particularly happy with the consistent and continued support we have seen the students receive, as well as the commitment and dedication of the staff we have worked with thus far. All of these factors combined made it very easy for us to decide that we wanted to focus more on Stellenbosch University and we look forward to growing our relationship over the next few years."</p><p>She says the cohort of students that they have offered bursaries to this year will hopefully be the foundation of their base in the Western Cape. "Our bursaries are for the entire duration of a student’s studies and are automatically renewed each year as long as the students pass, and meet certain other requirements," she explains.</p><p>She says they handle bursary applications on a case-by-case basis. "While our application form has some criteria, we treat each applicant as an individual and consider all factors influencing the student’s life before making a decision. We do not automatically exclude applications based on academic performance or family income. We take a more human approach to our application process and generally look for students who are high in need and who have high potential."</p><p>The bursary recipients will also get the opportunity to pay it forward once they have reached their full potential. "All students who graduate from the Tomorrow Trust Post-Secondary Department enter our Alumni programme. Our Alumni are committed to giving back in some way to our current students, be it financially or through mentoring or tutoring of other students," Rontiris says.</p><p>She stresses they want to work with students who are not only driven and determined to improve themselves and their circumstances for the better, but who are also hungry to learn and who will grab all opportunities that come their way. “Our model has shown over the years that when students enter the programme, no matter their current academic performance, as long as they are open to growing, they will do so on an academic and a personal level.”</p><ul><li><em>For more on the Tomorrow Trust: <a href=""></a></em></li><li><em>Photo: <em>Stacey Rontiris and some of the bursary recipients.</em></em></li></ul><p><br> </p>2018-08-07T22:00:00Z 2018-08-07T22:00:00.0000000ZDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni