South Africa could well be on its way to providing free education for financially needy students.(Image: Bongani Nkosi)The South African government will take steps towards providing free tertiary education to financially strapped students, the ruling African National Congress announced in its annual statement on 8 January 2011. President Jacob Zuma said that undergraduate students using the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be exempt from having to make loan repayments for their final year of study – if they complete the year successfully.While the scheme will at first only benefit final-year students, the overriding aim is to apply it to all years of tertiary study. “This model will be phased in over the next few years to include students in earlier years of study,” Zuma said.“We are committed to progressively introducing free education up to undergraduate level,” he added.NSFAS spokesperson Bonnie Feldman explained that additional funds will be injected into the loan scheme to settle students’ accounts for their final year, but they will still have to reimburse students for their first two years of study – she said the government will allocate an additional R750-million (US$109-million) to NSFAS for this.“This is to make sure that the students are able to graduate without much of a burden,” she said.The existing loan scheme currently converts 40% of loan repayments into bursaries for students at all levels of study who complete their courses successfully, but this settlement will now be upped to 100% for final year studies.NSFAS will now be liable for 60% of the fees of students who perform well. The funding covers tuition fees, accommodation and food expenses.Zuma explained that final-year students will “receive a loan equivalent to the full cost of study and necessary living expenses”.“If these students graduate at the end of the year, the loan for the final year will be converted into a full bursary. They will not have to repay the amount,” said Zuma.NSFAS exclusively provides funds for university students who cannot afford the fees.The ANC, which has been in government since 1994, committed to introduce free tertiary education in 2007 – this was one of its many resolutions adopted at it its 52nd national conference.The ANC Youth League welcomed the “gradual introduction of free education for the poor until undergraduate level,” Floyd Shivambu, the organisation’s spokesperson, said in a statement.“We welcome these interventions and hope that other measures will be introduced to ensure that free education is provided until undergraduate level for all academically deserving, yet poor students at all levels,” added Shivambu.Free education at public collegesEducation at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges will be completely free for students who qualify for financial assistance.FETs, which are popular among cash-strapped youngsters, are spread across the country with various campuses in some rural areas and townships.The government wants to attract more students to FETs, which churn out a significant number of professional artisans each year.The Department of Higher Education and Training is hoping to see at least 1-million students enrol at FETs every year from 2015.“We have to prioritise further education and training, and provide resources including expanding bursary schemes for supporting attendance at FET institutions,” Zuma said.The government spent about R1.9-billion ($276-million) on improving infrastructure and curriculums at FETs between 2006 and 2009.
The thing with solar-powered cars is that you can only drive them during the day. It’s a problem solved by Nigerian student Segun Oyeyiola, who added a wind turbine to his Beetle. Now he can drive all night, too. Segun Oyeyiola shows off his solar- and wind-powered Beetle (Image: OAU Peeps) • Makoko Floating School: a model of Nigerian cutting edge design• Africa refocused: images of Ghana • Khi Solar One: renewable energy for the ages • One million solar lamps light up Africa• D’Sa lauded for fight for environmental justice Compiled by Melissa Javan It cost a Nigerian man more than R70 000 to fight his personal battle against global warming and renovate his Volkswagen Beetle, but now he no longer has to fill his tank with expensive and polluting petrol: his car runs entirely on solar and wind energy.One of Segun Oyeyiola’s challenges was overcoming people’s scepticism. Many told him he was wasting his time. But he took no notice and soldiered on, determined to build a vehicle that could run without fuel.A senior engineering student in the Electronic and Electrical Department of Obafemi Awolowo University, installed a giant solar panel on top of his Beetle; he also inserted a wind turbine under the bonnet.Business magazine’s fastcoexist reports that Dr John Preston, chair of McMaster University’s engineering physics department in Canada and faculty adviser to the school’s solar car team, said he had never seen anything like Oyeyiola’s machine.The vehicle comes with a GPS app that monitors the car’s health. “If you could find a way to use both wind and solar in the same vehicle, that would be a marvellous thing,” Preston said. “Using wind and solar means you wouldn’t have to drive just during daylight hours. If he has figured a way to do it that would be quite remarkable.”Preston explained that the wind turbine allowed air to flow into the grill while the car was moving, subsequently turning the turbine’s rotors and charging the battery at the back of the car. Oyeyiola also built a strong suspension system to carry the weight of the battery.It took him more than a year to retrofit his vehicle, using spare parts he sourced for free from family and friends. In an interview with news agency Africanspotlight Oyeyiola said he didn’t want to build a car that ran on fuel because it was expensive for the common man in his country. The combustion of fuel also added to climate change, he explained.Oyeyiola is concerned about the effect people have on climate. He has tweeted his worries, encouraging people to work [email protected] the effects of Global warming is everywhere, it will be good if we can all join hands together to fight it — Oyeyiola segun (@trinitysege) November 13, 2014Speaking to fastcoexist, he said he would keep on improving his car until it became Nigeria’s future car.His solar- and wind-powered car was a personal project, he said, because of what he was planning to solve. “I wanted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions going to our atmosphere that leads to climate change or global warming which has become a new reality, with deleterious effect: seasonal cycles are disrupted, as are ecosystems; and agriculture, water needs and supply, and food production are all adversely affected.”Watch solar and wind energy run the car:
A young militant of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who had completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2015, was killed in an operation in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on Friday.The police said the militant, identified as Ishfaq Yousuf Wani from Pulwama’s Koil Pulwama, was killed during an anti-militancy operation in Banderpora area in the morning.“During the searches in the area, hiding militants opened fire. It was retaliated and one militant was killed. Wani was wanted by the law for his complicity in a series of terror crimes including attacks on security establishments,” said the police.The police said incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the site of encounter. “All these materials were taken in the case records for further investigation,” said the police.Went missing in 2015Wani, 25, completed his MBA in 2015 and went missing in July this year. Later, his weapon-wielding photographs were uploaded online after he joined the LeT. His father, also a militant, was killed in August 1996, according to locals.According to the family, Wani was studious and scored good marks during his schooling at the Alamdar Public School, Koil. “Wani did his B.Sc from the Government Degree College, Pulwama, and later completed his MBA. He also worked with a corporate bank,” said a family member.Hundreds of locals participated in Wani’s funeral at Koil village. Pulwama district witnessed a spontaneous shutdown. Train service in the district was also suspended for the day.No Mixed-Media Items28-satya-peerzada-LeT militant killed.
Hockey star Jonathan Toews says the only way to solve climate change is to set aside personal agendas and think on a broader scale.The Chicago Blackhawks captain and two-time Canadian Olympic champion posted a picture on Instagram Friday night of himself walking through a wooded area, along with a lengthy message related to recent events.“Do you believe in climate change?,” the post started. “Whether you’re super pumped that we are putting ‘Americans first’ or you are absolutely outraged at the idea that we are taking yet another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem, the only way to solve this argument is to try and set your own agenda aside and see how this affects everybody.”The issue of climate change has been a hot topic after President Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate-change agreement on Thursday. Trump rejected the 190-country agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president’s decision because America’s pollution contributes so much to rising temperatures.“The only lie we tell ourselves is that we are more special than other life forms on the planet. Well, we’re not,” the post continued. “Even if we weren’t responsible for any major climate catastrophes heading our way, shouldn’t we still do our part to preserve what we have left? The same way that we shouldn’t wait till our bodies break down completely to start doing the right things to stay healthy, let’s not wait till it’s too late to do something.“I am not saying I am perfectly ‘green’, but the first step is to keep an open mind and try to learn what you don’t already know.”Toews, a Winnipeg native and three-time Stanley Cup champion, attracted immediate attention with the post getting over 10,000 likes within an hour on Instagram and numerous shares on Twitter.— With files from The Associated Press