Tag: schools

Schools involved in price-fixing scandal

The Competition Commission says they have extended their probe into school uniform price fixing to the rest of the country.

The commission says this decision comes after they have received nine complaints since the initial reports in January.

The commission says the investigation will focus on all schools in the country including private schools such under Curro, Advetech and Kayalami, who were among those complained about.

The complaints have come from businesses who have foreclosed because of exclusive contracts schools have with some suppliers and parents who are forced to buy from certain suppliers.

Spokesperson Sipho Ngwema says they have found merit in some of these complaints.

“We are continuing to probe others and once we are finished we’ll take a decision on whether to refer certain schools and contracted business the competition tribunal. If there are other means to address this before the tribunal, we are open to that.”

By Tebogo Tshwane for Eyewitness News

Following years of government budget cuts, parents are now turning to crowdfunding Web sites in order to provide basic school supplies.

Appeals have been launched on websites including Justgiving.com for online donations towards items such as whiteboards and computers, as well as to pay for crossing attendants.

These include one for Camelsdale Primary School, which set up a page to raise money for a replacement whiteboard.

The drastic measures are being publicised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who have set up a ‘School Cuts’ website which shares details of the more than 18,000 schools that could face further cuts.

The website contains a tool with which people can check how their school will be affected, while urging voters to petition their local MP candidates to oppose more cuts before the election.

The project, which is also backed by NAHT, The Education Union (ATL) and GMB, also forecasts the future for UK education and claims that by 2022, 93% of schools will have per-pupil funding cut.

According to the National Audit Office, the Tory pledge to inject £4bn into education, thus changing the funding formula, could actually result in 9,000 schools facing more cuts.

In a blog, the Department of Education deny claims made in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that schools are not protected from further funding cuts.

They state: “That is not true – we have protected schools from losing more than 3% per pupil and that protection is guaranteed for the lifetime of the formula.

“[…] Indeed, there has been a substantial increase in school funding over the years.”

Basing findings on a National Audit office report into school financial sustainability, a spokesperson writes: “The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40 bn in 2016-17 – and that is set to rise as pupil numbers rise over the next two years.”

Prime Minister has echoed this claim several times, stating in an interview with Andrew Marr: “The level of funding going into schools is at record level.”

However, Professor Sandra McNally from the School of Economics, University of Surrey, published an article​ fact-checking this “highest level on record” claim.

She explains that only the “per pupil expenditure” (the amount spent on each pupil) is relevant, rather than the total amount of money available.

According to Professor McNally, current spending per pupil was “largely frozen in real terms” between 2010 and 2016.

And as onward spending is frozen in cash terms, this will likely lead to a “real terms reduction of around 6.5 per cent by 2019-2020”.

She explained this would, in reality, be a real-term fall in per-pupil spending – the biggest in 30 years.

“Theresa May’s claim is misleading because it omits important information,” Professor McNally concluded.

By Harriet Marsden for www.independent.co.uk

South Africa’s schools are burning

On 5 May, 19 schools were damaged and burned down in Vuwani, Limpopo. Earlier this year, there were a number of attempted arson attacks at the University of Witwatersrand and the gutting of building at North West University’s Mafikeng campus earlier this year. And now the University of Johannesburg is the latest casualty, after a fire that caused damage estimated at R100-million.

Management at the University of Johannesburg has to find alternative venues for graduations and examinations after a fire caused extensive damage to the main auditorium at the university’s Auckland Park Kingsway Campus in the early hours of Monday morning.

A fire, caused by a petrol bomb that was tossed into another building, was extinguished by security staff at the same campus less than a week ago.

Addressing the media yesterday, deputy vice-chancellor of strategic services Mpho Letlape described yesterday’s fire as horrifying.

She says the fire was caused by a “disappearing minority” who were desperate, but had failed, to mobilise support from the larger student body.

“They have tried, over and over again, to disrupt the academic programme and they will fail again. These arsonists will be found and jailed,” Letlape says.

The 1000-seater auditorium, where graduations normally take place, and computer labs, where examinations and career assessments for students and prospective students were conducted, were damaged in the fire.

“We will do everything, in co-operation with the authorities, to track these criminals down, prosecute them and send them to prison for as long as possible.”

Exams were scheduled to take place in the computer labs, and with graduation ceremonies scheduled for next month, the fire has left the university “inconvenienced”.

It now has to find alternative venues.

Tshireletso Mati, chairman of the EFF student command at UJ, dismissed accusations made earlier by newly elected student representative council president Onwabile Lubhelwana, who told the media the EFF was to blame for the fire.

Mati says the student command had planned to “demonstrate” outside campus yesterday against the suspension of 12 students but it had to postpone.

“We condemn the violence and criminality that occurred. We distance ourselves from such and we condemn the utterances of the SRC president that the EFF was behind this incident,” Mati says.

The City Press reported on Sunday that UJ spent nearly double its monthly expenditure on security from R3,3-million before the #FeesMustFall campaign to R6-million between November 2015 and January this year.

By Poppy Louw for www.timeslive.co.za

Students in Emily Lehne’s sixth grade science class have been charged with the task of building structures to demonstrate motion. To do so, the Beacon Middle School students are using technology not many have heard of: a 3D pen.

The technology is similar to a 3D printer, but on a much smaller and handheld scale.

Lehne wrote a grant to get two pens, which she received in December. By the end of January, the school had bought a dozen more for the students to use.

The pens allow the students to create something tangible to show how a concept works.

3d pens

“Every single kid was actively engaged and is participating which, when it comes to middle school students, can sometimes be a challenge in itself,” Lehne says.

To use the pen, one must insert a strand of plastic filament into the unit, which heats it up. The user then controls how quickly the plastic is dispersed. The pen can be used on paper and the user can then take what’s drawn off it.

As Riley Neall and Hanna Kozach were trying to build a house for the person Zoe Robinson and Keandra Dunning were creating, they were able to use the pen to build up the base of the structure. Then they welded a green roof they had already created on top.

Neall thinks more classrooms ought to have the technology.

“This is something to make learning fun,” he says.

Other students used the 3D pens to create an airplane and the Eiffel Tower, a car and a stoplight and a shark and a piece of coral. After creating the objects, the students will explain the motion theories by using what they’ve created.

“It gets them demonstrating their knowledge they need to know but in an interesting and unique way,” Lehne says.
“(It) keeps them creative and gives them a chance to express themselves.”

By Jon Bleiweis for www.delmarvanow.com

Schools readiness for education technology

As with any technology, there are always early adopters, followed by users who implement the technology when it is already accepted, and finally late adopters, those who implement the technology after it is being widely used, says Bez Sangari, CEO Sangari SA the wholly-owned South African training company. 

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