Daily Archives: February 13, 2018

Basic Education hosts 18th National Teaching Awards, 17 Feb

18th Annual National Teaching Awards set to recognise the nations foremost teachers

The Department of Basic Education will on Saturday 17 February 2018 through the 18th National Teaching Awards honor the selfless contributions of the nations most dedicated teachers.

Each year the Department recognizes and promotes the extraordinary efforts of some of the nations most dedicated teachers while promoting and saluting excellence in the teaching profession. Through the National Teaching Awards the Department of Basic Education acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of teachers, often achieved under very difficult conditions and in service to children from underprivileged families and economically depressed communities.

The 18th National Teaching Awards will recognise outstanding teaching and leadership in the following categories and awards:

Excellence in Primary School Teaching

Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

Excellence in Primary School Leadership

Excellence in Secondary School Leadership

Excellence in Grade R Teaching

Excellence in Special Needs Teaching

Excellence in Technology Enhanced Teaching and learning

Excellence in Teaching Mathematics

Excellence in Teaching Natural Science

Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award

Prof Kader Asmal Award

Members of the media wishing to attend the National Teaching Awards are requested to kindly complete the attached form for accreditation. Please note that Accreditation is vital owing to limited space only accredited members of the media will be granted access to the venue. All accreditation details should be sent to Mr. Terence Khala (khala.t@dbe.gov.za).

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Ismail Vadi: Disabilities and driving campaign workshop

Thank you for the invitation to participate in this important workshop on Disabilities and Driving Campaign.

For me it is not so much about delivering a speech as it is about learning of the real challenges that people with disabilities experience daily in their lives.

Driving a car – something that most of us take for granted once we get a driver’s license is not that easy if one survives a horrific car crash and is left physically disabled.

Even if the mind knows what to do, the hands or the legs might not be able to do it. How does one overcome this sort of disability and continue to lead a fulfilling and active life?

That’s the kind of thing we have to address. So, thank you for inviting me today to learn about the daily challenges of life of people living with disabilities. In our country and in communities, persons with disabilities and their families continue to experience high levels of marginalisation, exclusion and I dare say discrimination, despite a relatively enabling and protective policy and legislative environment.

Addressing the rights and development needs of persons with disabilities remain the responsibility of a few designated with this responsibility, whilst the mainstream of planners, designers, managers and researchers continue with implementation of their programmes to the general population, leaving those who require universal design and reasonable support measures behind.

What is missing are carefully considered catalytic interventions. What is sorely needed are practical interventions that will embed disability inclusion in government planning and every day community life.

Many people living with physical disabilities are socially isolated and dependent on family and friends for transport.

Most able bodied persons are oblivious to their needs and are completely unaware of the cost of being disabled.

A suitably adapted vehicle can give back independence and freedom to a person living with a disability. In many cases it opens up the possibility of being employed again and living a ‘normal’ life.

However, finding out about suitable vehicles and adaptations can be a daunting challenge as each person has different needs, different abilities and different requirements. They often do not know where to start.

The national Drive and Thrive Initiative is an important starting point for all of us. It aims to:

Assist people with physical disabilities to source suitable vehicles according to their individual needs.

Provide information regarding the different adaptations available to enable them to choose the adaptations that will be best suited to their disability and which will optimise their driving ability.

Provide information regarding driving schools that can accommodate drivers with disabilities.

Educate the motor dealers about the needs of drivers with disabilities with regards to vehicle choices, adaptations available and the rebate procedures, as well as encourage the use of temporary hand controls at their various branches in order to enable people with disabilities to test- drive new vehicles.

Create public awareness around the needs of drivers with disabilities, with particular emphasis on the purpose of Disabled Parking Bays as well as being sensitive to them on roads.

Create public awareness around the consequences of the poor standards of driving on South African roads and the impact that crashes have on individuals who have become disabled through road accidents.

May I invite you to work with the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport/Department of Transport to develop an implementable licensing system for drivers with physical disabilities.

We should be training more licensing examiners who are familiar with the specific needs of people with disabilities.

We must develop SABS standards for adapted vehicles. Also, we need more thorough-going research on driving with a disability in South Africa and we should be collecting crash statistics on drivers with disabilities.

I am sure there are many more aspects that should warrant our attention such as adequate public transport services and transport infrastructure that cater for the needs of people with disabilities.

I really would like to see a Working Group being established that will engage our department on all the policy and programmatic that need our attention.

There’s a great deal of work that needs to be done in this area. In essence, if we are to be the smart province that Gauteng claims to be, we should be able to provide an information platform for lifestyle services that accommodate people with disabilities so that they can to lead full and active lives.

Source: Government of South Africa

U.S.-Israel Foreign Policy Dialogue Readout

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Yuval Rotem co-chaired the first U.S.-Israel Foreign Policy Dialogue in Washington, DC on February 12, 2018.

The dialogue addressed issues of mutual interest in the Middle East and across the globe including opportunities for cooperation in Africa on development, economics, and counterterrorism; challenges in Asia and ways to advance shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region; and efforts to advance shared approaches to regional engagement in the Americas in collaboration with the Organization of American States. The dialogue also focused on digital diplomacy and recent developments in research and social media technology. Both sides expressed an interest to continue this dialogue on a regular basis in Washington and Jerusalem.

Source: U.S. State Department

Some four million Iraqi children in need says UNICEF, ahead of investment conference in Kuwait

About a quarter of all Iraqi children are living in poverty, and in the wake of more than four years of violence, families are being pushed to extreme measures in order to survive, said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday, as a major conference on rebuilding the country was set to open tomorrow in neighbouring Kuwait.

Children are Iraq’s future, said Geert Cappaelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, adding that the Kuwait Conference for Iraq this week is an opportunity for world leaders to show that we are willing to invest in children � and through investing in children, that we are willing to invest in rebuilding a stable Iraq.

The joint UNICEF and The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN�Habitat) assessment entitled Committing to Change � Securing the Future, which is being presented at the conference, concludes that without investment to restore infrastructure and services in war-ravaged cities such as Mosul, the hard-won gains to end conflict in Iraq are in jeopardy.

The Government-led battle to liberate swathes of Iraq last year occupied by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) terrorists since 2014, led to widespread destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and recreational spaces.

Since 2014, the UN verified 150 attacks on educational facilities, and around 50 attacks on health centres and their staff. Half of Iraq’s schools are in need of repair, and more than three million children have suffered disruption to their time in the classroom.

As displaced families try to return, the poorest often have little choice but to live in the ruins of their homes, in conditions that are hazardous to children. More than 21,400 homes have been destroyed or damaged in Mosul alone, according to UN figures.

The report indicates that some of the neediest families simply took their children out of school to work, and many children were forced to fight.

Children are hardest hit in times of conflict and urban crisis recovery and reconstruction should be prioritized, adequately supported and quickly implemented, said Zena Ali Ahmad, Arab Region Director for UN-Habitat.

The UN agencies are appealing at the conference � which runs 13 to 14 February � for commitments to restore basic infrastructure and services for children, including psycho-social support.

A UN Spokesman announced Monday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend the Conference and is expected to urge the international community to support the reconstruction of Iraq.

Source: United Nations

Suspected Separatists Abduct Cameroon Government Official

Cameroonian authorities continue to search for a senior regional official kidnapped Sunday by suspected separatist militants in the country’s English-speaking northwest. The abduction followed the killing of three gendarmes that same day amid violence in other anglophone towns as officials tried to celebrate National Youth Day.

Julienne Namata, wife of the most senior government official in the Batibo subdivision of Cameroon’s English speaking northwest, prays for the safe return of her husband, Joseph Namata. She says he was taken from their residence on Sunday as he was getting set to go to the town’s ceremonial ground and preside over activities marking Cameroon’s 52nd annual National Youth Day.

“At about eight o’clock in the morning, we heard gunshots and I rushed to the room to alert him but when I got to the room, he was not there. I asked the gendarmes who were around the house. They told me he went out with his driver,” she said.

Authorities suspect that armed men were able to get Namata into his car without alerting his protection detail.

The vehicle was later found burned. Joseph Namata has not been seen since.

“We have organized a search with all the security forces that are at our disposal and the reinforcement that the governor and the regional security heads sent to us to organize the search, and we want to be grateful to the population that has already started indicating to us and providing us with their assistance in the search,” says Absalom Monono Woloa, senior divisional officer of the Momo Division, where the subdivision of Batibo is located.

However, fearing a roundup by security forces, hundreds of youth have also reportedly fled the town. Woloa called on them to return.

Government officials and lawmakers in Cameroon’s two English-speaking zones have faced intimidation and attack in the past year. This is the first kidnapping of an administrative official.

What started as a strike by anglophone lawyers and teachers in November 2016 degenerated as it was overtaken by separatist groups demanding full independence for the country’s anglophone minority. Violence has escalated amid a government crackdown.

The detention of 47 separatist leaders arrested and extradited from neighboring Nigeria last month has thrown oil on the fire.

Armed separatist groups warned on social media that Cameroon should not attempt to celebrate National Youth Day February 11th in the English-speaking regions. Separatists have declared the northwest and the southwest regions a breakaway state they call Ambazonia.

Local officials, protected by security forces, went ahead with the celebrations.

Cameroon’s defense minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, said three gendarmes deployed to maintain peace in the southwestern town of Kembong were, in his words cold-bloodedly assassinated by terrorists” that same February 11.

More than two dozen policemen, gendarmes and soldiers have lost their lives amid the unrest in the anglophone regions, according to the defense minister. He added that hundreds of the separatists have either been killed or arrested, a figure that VOA could not immediately and independently verify.

Source: Voice of America