Working across disciplines to help learners

Education and Business students recently banded together to work on a literacy project aimed at primary school children.

Learners from the Belhar Pentech Community Care organisation travelled to CPUT’s Wellington Campus for a day of workshops geared around language and literacy.

The five students from the Faculty of Education joined three Business Management students plus a visiting student from Belgium to explore creative ways to engage the 26 learners who ranged from Grade 3 to 6.

Once the students had shown the learners around the Wellington campus they started with icebreakers and then divided the children into groups, rotating them around various stations.

Third year Education student Johan Pienaar was responsible for the debating and critical thinking station where learners were taught how to argue a point and critically question what is being said. He initially thought they would be dealing with older children so quickly had to adjust his methods: “The learners got distracted easily so in future I would look to incorporate more visual and practical resources to retain their attention,” said Pienaar.

Senior lecturer in the Department of English in the Faculty of Education Dr Hanlie Dippenaar said the purpose of the workshop was to give the students a chance to work with learners in an informal setting and to work across disciplines.

“This was a pilot project which might be developed into a longitudinal project. It could be done as a weekend camp in future,” said Dippenaar.

NGO Help2Read, which often partners with the Wellington Campus on Community Projects and Service-Learning, donated a book to each of the learners, who also received stationery from the Community Engagement Unit, which helped to plan the project.

“We would like to thank the CE Unit for the opportunity and we would be interested in doing similar projects that could include more students,” said Dippenaar.

Written by Theresa Smith

Office Management students pay it forward

Thirteen Office Management and Technology students received merit awards for going beyond the requirements of the department’s Pay It Forward project at the department’s recent Diversity Seminar.

The project has been integrated into Diversity Management 1, and requires of all first year students to volunteer a minimum of twice a month throughout the year.

An inspirational first year student, Maryka van Niekerk, who has been volunteering at various projects received the 2015 Pay It Forward Champion award. She created a library for the elderly at a church, takes youth on camps to Bredarsdorp, works with intellectually disabled people, and is a member of ROOF – a group of 11 students who raise funds and feed the homeless

Faculty of Business and Management Sciences Transformation Committee chairperson, Mandie Richards, said she was proud of the efforts of the first year students and thanked them for being the change and becoming socially active citizens in South Africa.

Yusuf Abramjee, Head of News and Current Affairs at Prime Media Broadcasting, delivered the keynote address at the seminar held at the Cape Town Campus.

Abramjee, who received the Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2013 for his community contributions, discussed the need for all members of society to be part of the change, make a difference in communities and stamp out crime and corruption.

“Use the stones thrown at you to create milestones”, he said.

Responding to Abramjee’s invite, the students visited Cape Talk Radio later that week, and aspiring CPUT slam poet, Dikeledi Rallele, was interviewed live on air.

To listen to her interview visit

Another group of students also won an award for the Best Digital Storytelling Video, with their video titled Xenophobia, an African Horror Story. Their story captivated the audience, as they highlighted the plight of foreign nationals, not only in South Africa, but around the world, as well as the need for respect and compassion for all people.

Students renovate and donate to shelter

Students in the Professional Secretarial Learning Programme have renovated and donated food, R18 000 and equipment to the Heaven’s Shelter House in Mitchell’s Plain.

The shelter cares for 95 women and children affected by violence, neglect and abuse.

The students are secretaries and personal assistants in various departments of the Western Cape Government who enrolled in the course at CPUT to advance their careers.

As part of the course, the group of 40 students were required to complete a project management assignment.

After visiting various shelters, the group adopted the Heaven’s Shelter House and renamed themselves  Heaven’s Helping Hands and began raising money and asking for donations of food, toiletries, toys and baby clothes.

The Department of Agriculture donated soil, seedlings, garden tools including a hosepipe and provided two of its officials to provide garden training to some people identified at the shelter to ensure responsibility.

The department also arranged annual sponsorship of vegetables and fruit from its contacts.

The students publicized the project on radio stations and a Facebook page was created.

On the outreach day the students built a sandpit on which the children can play and renovated the shelter. They also donated six computers to the shelter.

The course is offered by the Graduate Centre for Management which is housed in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences at CPUT.