AFRICA

REGIONAL UPDATES

IASAS Africa Regional Coordinators: Birgit Schreiber (South Africa) & Mustapha Jourdini (Egypt)

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

New IASAS North Africa Region Coordinator:

The IASAS Africa region has welcomed Dr. Mustapha Jourdini, Ed.D., who is at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), Morocco, (m.jourdini@aui.ma) heading up the Student Affairs Division. He will support the IASAS Africa activities in the North Africa Region. We are very excited to work with him and look forward to his contributions promoting activities in the northern African countries and to strengthen this aspect of higher education as an important tool of social justice, human rights and social-cultural development.

WITS Campus Personal Navigator Challenge

Used with permission from the South African HEDSA NEWSLETTER, by Lesley Donna Williams, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.

Brainstorming session during the WITS campus personal navigator challenge.

The challenge calls on innovators and entrepreneurs across Johannesburg to come forward with digital solutions that will help people with visual and physical disabilities to navigate their way around large built-up areas such as Wits University’s sprawling campuses.

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University, says the Challenge presents a unique opportunity for inspired and creative thinkers to put their ideas into action. “The Challenge is about transforming great ideas into viable solutions while at the same time making a very real difference in the lives of hundreds of disabled people.”

“The solution proposed could be a simple standalone device that attaches to a walking cane or wheelchair, or even be a wearable device. It may provide visual or audible directions to navigate a campus,” he adds. “We might even see someone come up with a robotic guide-dog!”

Entrants will not only be mentored and supported in developing a technical solution, they will also be assisted in turning their idea into a start-up business in the incubator at Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein.

Led by the JCSE with sponsorship from the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation (CEFF) the Challenge is open to any innovators and entrepreneurs, SMEs, professional developers, students and bright sparks alike.

An initial group of entrants will be selected to take part in a weekend-long hackathon. After this the top ten entrants will each be given three months’ membership in the Tshimologong Precinct incubation programme, and the top three an additional seven months’ membership.

The ultimate winner of the Challenge will be funded to send two team members to spend four weeks at one of the Tshimologong Precinct’s international partner hubs located in the UK, Canada, USA, Netherlands or India.

  

UJ Transforming Lives with Technology for Learners with Disabilities

Used with permission from HEDSA newsletter, by Ms. Luyanda Ndaba (Photo Journalist), University of Johannesburg – Strategic Communication.

 

Assistive Technology Assistant, Mr. Eric Mhlanga, demonstrating the use of the EyePal Solo to Ms. Pearl Ramafola, UJ Wellness Department and Dr. Hester Costa, Director: GDE Inclusion and Special Schools.

 

A regional centre to support communities with students with disabilities was launched at the Soweto Campus of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday 10 April.

The Fuchs Regional Disability Resource Centre (FRDRC) was established by UJ Disability Unit within the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), with generous funding from the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation.

“This is an exciting and significant community engagement project to support educators, lecturers and learners with disabilities. The FRDRC facilitates alternative access to study resources, for example assistive technologies such as JAWS Screen Reader for people living with blindness,” said Dr Del Naidoo, Disability Unit Team Lead.

The centre aims to work with the Gauteng Department of Education and local Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges (TVET) colleges.

“The launch of the Fuchs Centre is a response to the call from government to merge and share educational resources to address disability issues. Students with disabilities need support while completing their education,” added Dr Naidoo, “for example to get improved access to resources such as assistive devices to help them access their course content and achieve.

“The FRDRC will promote complete disability support in schools and colleges. It also aims to address any barriers that may confront students with disabilities, so that their effective learning and development can be supported and sustained,” concluded Naidoo.

At the event, visitors saw demonstrations of revolutionary assistive technology such as JAWS, Read&Write Gold, ZoomText and Super Magnifier. These products help the accessibility of computer-based educational material through screen enlarging, converting text-to-speech for ease of navigation for students with a visual impairment or learning difficulties support. Additionally, hardware at the centre such as printed text readers and magnifiers were available for the attendees to try out.

Dr Hester Costa, Inclusion and Special Schools, Gauteng Department of Education Director, said: “Congratulations with a well-organized and received launch of your Resource Centre. Thank you for your willingness to reach out to communities and organizations in the area.”

The event gave delegates the opportunity to explore the evolving and futuristic innovative ways that assistive technology can enhance the independence of students with disabilities. It also gave attendees from non-governmental, academic, tertiary education and governmental sectors the opportunity to interact with each other and enhance the network of support offered to learners and students with disabilities in the south Gauteng region.

 

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

TransAtlantic Dialogue Conference

The TransAtlantic Dialogue conference in Luxembourg was a great opportunity to share and learn about issues of diversity, inclusion and collaboration. Guests from across the globe joined to explore issues and strengthen collaborations across the Atlantic and other divides.

TransAtlantic Dialogue Conference Delegates

L to R: Prof. Bill Chambers (Provost, Hope University, Liverpool), Dr. Birgit Schreiber (Stellenbosch University & IASAS Africa Region), Terry Coppett (MIT, Massachusetts), Prof Francois Gabon (Provost, Luxembourg Univ)

 

The Co-Curriculum: Developing Norms and Standards for South African Realities

In many counties in Africa, the focus on the Co-Curriculum is intensifying as it is recognised as a key distinguishing factor for the HE experience, student success and employability.  Gavin Henning from ACPA, and Jen Wells from CAS were in South Africa in early June to facilitate conversations about norms and standards in the Co-Curriculum so as to assist us in shaping our own Norms and Standards for South African and African realities.

 

RESOURCES

Academic Degree in Higher Education Management:

South Africa has registered the first Post Graduate Degree with a focus on Student Affairs and Higher Education Management (PG Dip BMA Higher Education Management).  The Stellenbosch University South Africa, Business School, is offering the BMA HE Management as the first of this kind in Africa. The focus is on capacitating middle and senior Higher Education administrators, policy makers and strategists in terms of perspectives, theories and research in Higher Education. The focus includes core management competencies, internationalisation and mobility, human rights and critical issues of transformation and development.  (http://www.usb.ac.za/Postgraduate-Diploma-in-Business-Management-and-Administration). For more information email usbcom@usb.ac.za  and   birgitschreiber@sun.ac.za

South African National Resource Centre for the First Year Experience: 

The South African National Resource Centre for the First Year Experience (sanrcfye.co.za) held its annual congress and welcomed over 80 participants. Dr. Birgit Schreiber (Africa Region) opened the first day with a key note and focussed on the importance of leadership development within our profession in order to strengthen student and institutional success.

 

NOTE: The above is not an exhaustive list of all events or activities within each region, but only includes the information reported by our members.  For additional details of professional organizations around the world visit the IASAS website page Links to Higher Education and Student Services Organizations

IASAS does not necessarily support or endorse the events and resources listed on this page.  It is provided here for informational purposes.