About Kwanele Butana

Kwanele is a Communication Officer in the Marketing and Communication Department. He writes stories about general news, and the faculties of Business and Management Sciences and Education. Tel: +27 21 959 6916 Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

New Dean of Students appointed

The new Dean of Students says her passion for student affairs led her to CPUT.

Prem Coopoo, a seasoned student developer with a master’s degree in social work, joined CPUT last month.

She intends to develop a holistic student development plan and that starts with coming up with a framework that will guide each of the departments reporting to her on what is expected of them.

“Everyone needs to know that we need to be student-centred and contribute to student success and not hinder it. Each one should ask themselves ‘are we promoting student success or are we hindering it?’ ”

CPUT is a good institution which is robust with strong union involvement,” says Coopoo who has previously held the position of Dean of Students at both Wits and the North West University in the last 14 years.

During her reign CPUT students can expect a supportive and responsive environment which is proactive rather than reactive.

“They can also expect strict adherence to the university’s rules because we need to assist them with acquiring certain soft skills and if we don’t enforce compliance to our rules we won’t be helping them develop the right skills not only for the world of work but also life in general.”

She adds that students will have an opportunity to become the good citizens of the world. “We will provide the programmes but the responsibility lies with the students to grab the opportunity to grow and develop, so they can expect a positive student experience throughout their career at CPUT and beyond.”

She says that the university would like for its graduates to return for postgraduate studies or be involved in university life as alumni.

The dean is interested in creating “high performing residences”. These should be places of learning where students have a 100% chance of excelling academically and personally, where no violation of any residence rule will be tolerated.

“CPUT must encourage student activism through affiliation with clubs, organisations and student societies with very clear outcomes.”

Paralegal studies degree hailed

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation lauded CPUT’s Bachelor of Paralegal Studies degree, as significant for the professionalisation of the paralegal field.

CPUT is the only institution in the country which offers this degree.

The foundation recently visited the Unit for Applied Law to learn more about the new degree programme and interacted with lecturers and students.

Lorenzo Wakefield, Programme Officer at the Foundation, says: “We’re looking at how best we can support the accessibility and inclusivity of community-based paralegals into the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies and we are having good discussions with the Unit for Applied Law.”

Wakefield added:  “Injustices happen to the people and they don’t know how to get justice, the formal legal fraternity is inaccessible,” he says. “We’re looking at how we can assist them with their research activities and support them to gain the most from the degree.”

This was a site visit by the global coordinator to gain insight into the activities of the Unit for Applied Law which the South African office proposes to fund, says the Unit’s Head, Adv. Noleen Leach.

Leach says the Unit has a Memorandum of Understanding with CAOSA (merged institutions of the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices) and the Association of Community Advice Offices of South Africa.

“The Mott Foundation is one of the funders of Community Advice Offices in the country.  Most paralegals in practice in the advice offices do not meet the prescribed admissions criteria for the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies programme and CPUT has terminated the age exemption option for access,” she says.

She adds that the foundation extended an invitation to the Unit to apply for funding for research that will inform the Recognition of Prior Learning instrument to be designed for access to the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies by community-based paralegals.  “They will be working in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation to ensure that especially community-based paralegals gain access to the programme.”

She argues that the need for paralegals have become critical in the light of the recent announcement by the South African government that it intends to cut legal aid by R500 million over the next three years.  “Cheaper legal services is an imperative if we are to ensure that the marginalised and the poor gain access to justice,” she concludes.

NRF renews funding for teacher education Chair

Prof Yusuf Sayed, Research Leadership Chair in Teacher Education, says the renewed funding for the Chair from the National Research Foundation (NRF) is a testament to the hard work and effort of all members of the CPUT-based Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE).

“It is an affirmation of the support we have received from the university and faculty,” said Sayed. “It reflects a deepening of research at CPUT and the commitment and values of CPUT as becoming a research-intensive university.”

For the next phase the Chair and CITE will continue to deepen the work they have engaged with in the first phase which included developing new knowledge about teacher education, building research capacity and strengthening national, regional and international research partnerships.

“We will also seek to continue to actively enhance the impact of our research in the coming phase,” he added.

“I am pleased to communicate that the panel has recommended that funding for the Chair continue for the next five-year cycle and that this recommendation has been accepted by the NRF,” Dr Rocky Skeef, Executive Director: Reviews and Evaluations, wrote to CPUT recently.

Skeef also indicated in the letter that the panel’s recommendation outcome was reached by consensus.

CITE was founded in 2014 with the understanding that teacher preparation and teacher classroom performance are at the heart of enhancing education quality and ensuring that education acts as a vehicle for achieving equity and transformation in society.

CITE acts as a national, regional and international centre of excellence for research and policy dialogue about education policy and teacher education.

The specific objectives of the Chair are to:

  • Develop a rigorous and robust programme of research and scholarship to advance knowledge in the field of teacher education;
  • Support and build research capacity;
  • Bridge the current education policy-practice gap in South Africa and contribute to evidence based policy making;
  • Build on existing initiatives in the field of teacher education in South Africa and globally and;
  • Initiate and build a platform of research, research capacity, policy discussion, academic debate, and collegial collaboration pertaining to education policy and education in South Africa.

Taking teaching to another level

Trendy teaching methods were discussed during the recent Learning and Teaching Symposium held by Fundani’s Student Development Unit on the Bellville Campus.

Topics presented ranged from using ICT and tutorials to enhance teaching and learning practices to supporting underprepared students in mathematics and learning through field trips.

Prof Lorraine Hassan, Head of Fundani’s Academic Staff Development, delivered the keynote address under the title “Enhancing learning through tutorials through the perspective of Legitimation Code Theory (of semantics)”.

Discussing her findings, Hassan said 61% of tutee respondents in her study said that tutors encouraged them to ask questions. She added that the students preferred the use of mother tongue during tutorials.

She also found that tutors helped the tutees produce new knowledge by focusing on the application of formulae such as in accounting, physics or even practicals.

“There is a need for the development of mother-tongue education,” concluded Hassan.

Nobuhle Luphondo, a lecturer in the Management and Project Management Department, presented a paper about rethinking teaching practices.

Luphondo said she started using WhatsApp Group for teaching purposes. “We formulated groups and made rules governing the interactions,” she said.

“Students are required to be prepared for the WhatsApp and other group discussions.”

She added her students were so motivated that they came up with a Cultural Day celebration during which they cooked various traditional foods and dressed in different traditional attires.

To round up the day there was also a panel discussion about experiences on collaborations that have worked between the Unit and academic departments which saw lecturers from the Unit and departments sharing their experiences.

Teachers’ workshop seeks to improve learning experience

Various ideas to improve the learning experience and education quality were laid bare at a recent workshop attended by teachers, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) officials, teacher educators and education researchers.

Held by the CPUT-based Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE) in Mowbray, the Teachers’ Workshop was co-ordinated with the WCED Metro East District Office.

WCED’s Benjamin Schereka said the department has an outstanding relationship with CPUT.

Schereka added that these were challenging times for teachers as they are under extreme pressure to produce, but with very limited resources they do not know how to go about achieving their goals.

He argued that the Constitutional Court ruling which decriminalises private use of marijuana among adults will pose threats to schools that operate without a Code of Conduct.

He said the current climate at schools imposes general demands on discipline among the learners before citing two learners who were found openly smoking marijuana on school premises.

“This all impacts on the teachers. The question is whether the department is preparing teachers for that environment?”

Research Leadership Chair in Teacher Education, Prof Yusuf Sayed, said teaching a class involves making a series of complex decisions such as what to pay attention to as well as ensuring everyone is included.

After presenting an overview of the CPUT-based Centre for International Teacher Education, Sayed said its research agenda addresses who the teacher is, where do they come from, their beliefs and experiences of learning to teach.

He outlined the research projects that the centre is busy with such as AFLA, Continuous Professional Development and Teaching for all (a project about mainstreaming inclusive education).

Sayed said their research findings had led to a new conceptualisation of global and national education quality as well as teacher’s agency and policies.

“The disjuncture between policy and practice led to us having to identify key gaps in teacher education provision and education practice,” he said.

The workshop’s participants were later subdivided into four commissions to discuss new trends in teacher education.

Accounting student opens Cape’s first township pharmacy

Applying the knowledge obtained from class, a second-year Accounting student, has created a business opportunity out of a community problem.

After noticing how difficult it is for residents in disadvantaged areas such as Khayelitsha and Joe Slovo to access medicine, Thembekile Mahintsho recently opened Mangethe’s Medi Store, the first and only pharmacy in Joe Slovo.

With motivation from this lecturers, including Andre van den Bergh, Widaad Martin and Anthony Ezeonwuka, Thembekile started the pharmacy in June using savings from his study loan.

“Accounting teaches us to think outside the box; the knowledge gained from CPUT is now applied to solve real-life problems,” says the tenacious 22-year old. “CPUT has played a huge role in preparing for this life as an entrepreneur.”

Thembekile’s pharmacy has been mentioned in over ten newspapers. He sells only over the counter drugs and not prescribed medicine.

He adds that he aims to grow the business but first he wants to make it viable.

His range of products on sale includes African traditional medicines because he says that he understands his customers’ needs and always strive to address them.

What gives him a competitive edge over the large supermarkets is that he sells his products cheaper and only charges his customers an additional R10 for delivering their medicines at their homes. He even sells on credit but does not add interest to the prices.

Thembekile adds that when the news about his pharmacy first broke, Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, got hold of him and promised that her office will facilitate for him to be awarded a pharmacy license.

His now awaiting the pharmacy council to visit his store and inspect whether it can be considered for licensing.

“The Cipla Foundation has been sponsoring me with their products, Rabie Property Group Pty Ltd at Century City funded me with R10 000 and the NYDA has approved my funding application which will see them funding me with a brand new motorbike, stock and a cash register machine.

PIONEER: Thembekile Mahintso

Research stars shine at BTech Conference

Students in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences who are outstanding research presenters won cash prizes during this year’s BTech Conference.

The faculty held the conference on the District Six Campus recently under the theme, driving economic development and empowerment through research and innovation.

The faculty’s Dean, Prof Paul Green, said the conference was the initiative and drive of acting Assistant Dean: Research & Innovation, Prof Chux Iwu.

Green added that the purpose of a conference of this nature was developmental, as well as to stimulate and provoke critical thinking and provide for the extension of learning.

“It is the basis of an academic or anyone pursuing the route of academia,” he said.

He argued that South Africa was calling out for action, particularly in the area of economic development so much that some even argue that economic reform should be done radically.

The prizes for individual presentations were R5 000 for the winner, R3 000 2nd prize and Special commendation R750, while for group presentations the prizes were R8 000 for the winners, 2nd R5 000 and  Special Commendation R1 000.

Prizes for the individual presenters were awarded as follows:

Commendation prizes went to the Retail Business Management, Cost and Management Accounting, Financial Management and Tourism Management departments;

The runner-up went to Internal Auditing Department and the winner was the Sport Management Department.

For the presenting groups Commendation Awards were given to HR Management, Business and Information Administration and Hospitality Management departments. The Entrepreneurship and Marketing departments were awarded runners-up and winners, respectively.

Sibusiso Zondi, of Emerald Group Publishing, which was one of the conference sponsors, said 37 CPUT authors are published through Emerald and that the group offers annual research funding awards.

Seminar tackles Translanguaging

Switching between two languages when teaching provides for the exploitation of all the linguistic repertoires of pupils in assessment for learning tasks rather than only taking their proficiency in the dominant language into account.

This is the view Prof Piet Van Avermaet, a visiting academic from Ghent University, Belgium, shared with the audience attending the Seminar on Translanguaging as a pedagogical resource.

The Seminar was hosted recently by the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences on the Granger Bay Campus.  The faculty’s language co-ordinator, Dr Sithembele Marawu invited Van Avermaet to address the seminar.

Presenting his lecture under the title, Translanguaging as a pedagogical resource. Go beyond binaries, he said: “Translanguaging is the process of making meaning, shaping experiences, gaining understanding and knowledge through the use of two languages”.

He added that social inequality and unequal outcomes in education were big problems not only in schools but also in higher education. Van Avermaet said language use at home is seen as the cause of this inequality; speaking the home language is seen as hindering children’s academic development.

“Move beyond the binaries and towards a new approach to learning that integrates translanguaging and learning,” enthused Avermaet.

He argued that when learning and evaluating are seen as inseparable, the concept of assessment for learning can be connected seamlessly to the concept of functional multilingual learning.

“Both call for a learning environment that allows frequent interaction between the pupils and allow for the exploitation of all the linguistic repertoires of pupils in assessment for learning tasks rather than only taking their proficiency in the dominant language into account.”

Interrogating the draft language policy

Students who attended a workshop on the draft CPUT Language Policy prefer Swahili to Afrikaans as an additional language of instruction.

The students said they preferred isiXhosa and Swahili to be developed as media of instruction alongside English. In its current form, the draft policy provides for all three languages used in the Western Cape, including Afrikaans, to be developed for teaching purposes.

The students denounced Afrikaans as the language of the country’s former oppressors and that it has no role to play in the creation of multilingual societies and a decolonised curriculum.

Hosted by the Fundani Centre for Higher Education Development’s Language Unit on the Bellville Campus recently, the workshop was meant for students to gain insight into the university’s language policy and deliberate on the Language Implementation Plan.

Nomxolisi Jantjies, IsiXhosa Language Specialist at the Language Unit, presented the draft CPUT Language Policy to the students.

Jantjies said that the policy has to promote previously-marginalised languages and intellectualise them.

She discussed the Unit’s initiatives such as translation services, collaborations with academic departments and faculties, research and the multilingual glossaries.

“Students on the Wellington Campus complained about the Afrikaans geographical names and signage so the Language Committee thought it wise to have the names in other languages as well,” she said.

  • Jantjies listed the following language initiatives that have been rolled out across CPUT campuses:
  • Central language labs with various language resources such as the Readers are Leaders programme and Texthelp;
  • Language labs situated at the Applied Sciences Faculty; and
  • Language indabas and faculty-based colloquia.

She added that for the creation of multilingual glossaries students select difficult terms in the course of study and the Unit will then have them translated into isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

The students were subdivided into commissions to discuss the Language Implementation Plan.

Alumna inspires students to find their passion

An Office Management & Technology alumna who is now a published author and businesswoman recently spoke to Business and Information Administration students about how the course prepared her for her multiple careers.

Angie Mokoena is the author of Lord I am broken and owner of Angie Mokoena (Pty) Ltd, a company which focuses on fashion designing, image consulting, celebrity styling and personal brand coaching.

She told the students how all the subjects she studied at CPUT came in handy in her career growth and even more so now that she runs her own company. “OMT is so diverse and can lead you wherever you want to go,” said Mokoena.

Surprisingly, Mokoena said the course was not her first choice as she originally wanted to study marketing but the latter was full. After graduation she started working in the Economic Development Department and later became secretary to the Chief Operations Officer at the Tourism Department. “I wasn’t excited about my job but began finding purpose in my life when I started giving fashion tips.”

Mokoena now has her own seamstress and has designed a matric dance evening gown. Actress Jolene Martin is one of the celebrities who have been dressed and styled by Angie.

She enjoys personal branding and warned the students that their social media profile should match how they brand themselves for jobs in specific careers. “What is in your hand is more important that what you need elsewhere,” she said.

Mokoena added that she became unsatisfied with being unnoticed and boosted her self-esteem by writing her first book, Lord I am broken, published by Zion Publications“It didn’t all come overnight, it took time for me to realise that this is what I want to do.”

She is in the process of producing an audio book and working on publishing her next book.