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04 April 2005

Actuarial student is number one

Nalen Naidoo, a UCT business science graduate, has been named as a joint winner of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (Assa) prize for the best honours project in actuarial science, beating out contenders from across the country. Naidoo won the accolade for his 2004 thesis in which he looked at the factors - unemployment, income levels, etc - that spurred Africans living in Transkei to migrate to the Cape Metropolitan area, basing his work on data from the 1996 and 2001 South African censuses. Naidoo, who now works as an actuarial assistant at Old Mutual, was caught unawares by the call from UCT to say Assa had singled out his and a Wits student's theses for the sought-after award. "It was a very nice surprise," he says. The Assa purse includes funds towards the winners' master's studies. But that may have to wait a short while as Naidoo will first have to wrap up his postgraduate diploma in actuarial science, which he is currently doing at UCT.

Environmental interns

UCT's Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU) is overseeing the progress of 14 interns recruited from across the country for a capacity-building project in environmental management and sustainable development.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism appointed the EEU to manage the year-long, Western Cape-based project which started in February. The interns, three of whom are former UCT students, are working for the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape government and metropolitan nature reserves, covering areas such as air quality management, sustainability reporting, coastal management and biodiversity strategy.

During the first week of the internship, the EEU ran a workshop to introduce the interns to key concepts and principles of environmental management as well as the institutional arrangements and key initiatives for the city and the province.

In addition to providing a management role for the programme, the EEU and some members of the Environmental and Geographical Science Department are providing academic mentorship as an adjunct to the day-to-day guidance the interns receive from their various supervisors.

Winners' circle

UCT has produced a sizeable group of winners in the annual Old Mutual Budget Speech competition, a lineage continued this year by master's student Margaret Irving, who took the postgraduate award last month (see Monday Paper Vol24#04). They are Jessica Heynis (1998), Jeenesh Manga (2004), Johann Fedderke new director of the Centre for Social Science Research (1986), Jeremy Wakeford (1996,) and Mornet Oosthuizen. (The competition is sponsored by Old Mutual and Nedbank.)

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