University of the Witwatersrand

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, also known as Wits University, is a leading, internationally-ranked, research-intensive university located in Johannesburg, South Africa, the economic heartland of Africa. Committed to academic and research excellence and social justice, Wits generates high level scarce skills for a globally competitive world, while addressing local social and economic development. At the forefront of a changing society, Wits is a social leader, dedicated to advancing the public good.

Wits is known for its work in deep level mining, science, health sciences, accountancy, law, governance, and the humanities, amongst others. It houses five faculties which comprise 34 schools. Wits offers approximately 3 600 courses to about 32 500 full-time students, of whom about a third are postgraduate and 55% are female. Almost 65% of all doctoral candidates and about half of all enrolments are in the Science, Engineering and Technology fields. Wits has developed about 130 000 graduates in its 93 years of existence. It has a proud record in that about 87% of all publications are in accredited international journals.

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The Financial Times newspaper has been bought by Japanese media house Nikkei. Does the ownership of a newspaper make a difference? It certainly does. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Newspaper ownership: political influence trumps the promise of profits

The sale of the Financial Times marks the end of 60 years of benign custodianship, which has allowed the pink paper to be one of the more successful in dealing with the challenges of the internet.
The poor and the middle class will be the hardest hit if the South African government increases the value-added tax. Shutterstock

South Africa needs to raise taxes: why a VAT increase would be a bad idea

The South African government should weigh its decision carefully whether to increase value added tax (VAT) as indirect taxes fall most heavily on the poor and the middle class.
It’s a little intimidating when all of those chairs are full, but teaching large classes doesn’t need to stress you out. From www.shutterstock.com

What it takes to teach a large class – and do it well

Large classes don't have a good reputation when it comes to fostering student learning. But there are a few ways for teachers to adapt to bigger classes.
Rather than rejecting all indigenous knowledge as witchcraft or as somehow inferior, we should explore the value in different knowledge systems. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Why indigenous knowledge has a place in the school science curriculum

There are valuable and authentic wisdom traditions in all cultures. How can indigenous knowledge be woven into the existing science curriculum?
People take to the street to celebrate the annulment of an anti-homosexuality law by Uganda’s constitutional court in Entebbe last year.The law was signed by the east African country’s President Yoweri Museveni earlier. Reuters/Edward Echwalu

Behind South Africa’s reluctance to champion gay rights on the continent

South Africa, whose constitution protects gay rights, is well positioned to defend the continent’s LGBTI citizens. But it is reluctant to take positions at odds with the majority of African states.
Vocational training shouldn’t be dismissed as an easy, lazy alternative to completing formal schooling. From www.shutterstock.com

Vocational training is not an easy alternative to formal schooling

Modern vocational programmes must prepare students for complex work which demands a skills and knowledge mix that is different but not necessarily easier than school subjects.
Children develop based on their interactions with people, books and cultural artefacts. History textbooks could have a great deal to teach them about empathy. From www.shutterstock.com

How history textbooks can be used to build kids’ empathy

Are history textbooks constructing the past in a way that allows learners to develop empathy by walking in many different people's shoes?
Frontline nurses say their views on nursing policy is often overlooked because policymakers do not recognise the importance of their clinical experience. Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Why South African nurses should no longer be sidelined in policymaking

There are several benefits of nurses providing input in policymaking processes. In South Africa, though, there are several barriers that prevent this.
Proposals by the Film and Publications Board to monitor online activities may be much more difficult to implement than envisaged. shutterstock

Censorship of online content: paternalism versus parental guidance

Censorship may not be the answer, but there needs to be acknowledgement of the challenges involved in the disruption of media that the internet is wreaking across the planet and in people's homes.
Money is much more than just bank notes and coins issued by central banks. EPA/Aaron Ufumeli

Explainer: the real role of banks in money creation

The misguided belief that banks create money out of nothing has generated public anger with organisations and individuals calling for an overhaul of the system and an end to money creation by banks.
A member of the King Cricket family, aka the Parktown prawn, is found across the southern hemisphere. Lourens Durand/Shutterstock

Scary king cricket is a beautiful example of evolution at its best

King Crickets, or Parktown Prawns as they're more commonly known in South Africa, have been terrifying Johannesburg residents for many years.
Teachers can learn a great deal from their pupils’ mistakes in maths. From www.shutterstock.com

When there’s meaning in mathematical mistakes

What if instead of dismissing wrong answers as a sign of failure, maths teachers tried to understand how their pupils came to that answer and then guided them in the right direction?

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