22 April 2003
Former UCT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stuart Saunders, was one of five people to receive an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University at their April graduation. The degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, was conferred on him. Saunders was lauded for his contribution to education over the past 40 years (he took the lead among South African universities in integrating UCT and challenging the apartheid government) and for his efforts to secure vital Mellon Foundation funding for Rhodes' postgraduate courses.

Senior education officials have called for the vigorous training of women aspiring to be managers to "disentangle" the perception that women lack the confidence to pursue high-level management careers. This was said by the acting minister of education in KwaZulu-Natal, Premier Lionel Mtshali, at a conference on Women in Management in Durban. Mtshali acknowledged that education management in the province was still the preserve of men, adding that there was an urgent need to reverse "skewed trends" that prohibited the upward mobility of women.

South Africa faces considerable challenges in tackling its serious shortage of scientific skills, according to Science and Technology Minister Ben Ngubane. In a speech prepared for delivery at the start of the science and technology budget vote in the National Assembly, he said the government had a critical role to play in promoting education in science disciplines. "This includes school-level interventions, strengthening tertiary education, and the provision of meaningful careers for the young people who come through the system," he said. Meanwhile, his department has cautioned that the country's human resources for science and technology are not being adequately renewed. According to a strategy document released by the department the backbone of research in South Africa remains "the white, male and ageing scientific population". "This demographic group is not being replaced by younger, more representative groupings," the report states.

Five University of Zimbabwe employees successfully applied in the High Court to be reinstated after their employer had unlawfully terminated their employment. Messers Fredy Dandavare, John Mahumani, Paul Hatugari and Rogers Chisi and Ms Martha Chigombe lost their employment with the UZ, after the centre for distance education (UCDE) was disbanded to pave way for Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). Granting the application, Justice Charles Hungwe said the five who held posts in the audio visual teaching unit at UZ before their lateral transfer to UCDE could not suffer because of the creation of ZOU.

Kenyan Universities will benefit from a multi-million programme aimed at upgrading scientific research in the local institutions. The programme, which has been cultivated by the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe), will take a period of 10 years. Icipe Director General Dr Hans Herren said the programme would benefit two Kenyan universities alongside 26 others in Africa. The universities will receive sophisticated laboratory equipment and training of lecturers and students. The move is expected to help African universities come up with technologies suited to local needs, and that that will help solve the continent's socio-economic problems.

The National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore fired its director this month after an independent panel found that he had jeopardised the safety and well-being of human research subjects during a study involving people with Parkinson's disease. A summary of the panel's report states that Simon Shorvon and his research team obtained medical records without patients' consent, failed to seek approval from a governing research-ethics board for a key aspect of the study's clinical trials, and potentially endangered research subjects' lives by altering their prescriptions. Dr. Shorvon also failed to inform patients of the risks involved in the study, according to the investigative panel, which accused him of a "serious lapse" in judgement. He has since returned to the Institute of Neurology at University College London, where he had worked before going to Singapore.

Sources:, Independent Online, Chronicle of Higher Education

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