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5 Ways Teachers Are Opening Up the World to Special Education Through Technology

On World Global Collaboration Day September 17, 2015, students with special needs from Finland, Sweden, Germany, South Africa and the United States shared videos with each other introducing themselves and their school. The event kicked off an extended online global collaboration between the students, called the SMARTee Project. The students use SMART Amp technology to collaborate online and teach each other about their local cultural traditions and events.

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The six special education teachers from around the world first met and formed the idea for the collaboration at SMART Technologies’ Exemplary Educators conference last summer. While attending the conference, they found they had more in common with each other than with the general education teachers in attendance.

“We were talking about some of the challenges that we have compared to a general education teacher,” said Brianna Owens, a special education teacher at Petroglyph Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM. “We do things so differently, but special ed really does look very similar on the global scale, be it South Africa or Germany or Finland, and so we talked about how we could meet some of the challenges by having our kids work together.”

Other teachers around the United States and the world have also discovered the power of online global collaboration projects for students with all types of special needs. Students who have severe or multiple disabilities, those in inclusive classrooms, and those who struggle with verbal communication and face-to-face socialization are using technology to connect with all types of kids around the world, and are feeling more engaged in the learning process through this inclusive online environment.

Connecting Across Cultures
Students in the SMARTee Project are using SMART Amp software to share their work with the other classes, create workspaces for each other to use and collaborate within a shared workspace. Owens’ students taught the other classes about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, an annual event featuring hundreds of hot air and gas balloons. “This is a project I would teach my kids every year, but this year it really took it to that next level because they had to understand it at a level to be able to go back and teach other students,” said Owens.

Many of the students in Owens’ class have learning disabilities or other special needs such as autism that create challenges with communication and socialization, so they often use pictures and other visuals instead of spoken or written language. Owens said those communication differences can create barriers to interaction with the general education students in the school, but they actually facilitated communication with students in non-English-speaking countries because all of the students could understand picture communication, regardless of their language. Owens’ quoted Jörgen Holmberg, one of her SMARTee Project colleagues, who said, “Many of the students have problems collaborating with a student sitting next to them or even talking to the kid next to them. That’s a huge barrier. But with our kids it’s easier for them to collaborate with a kid sitting in another country.”

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College paves way for tourism career

A lack of money should be no barrier to young Northlanders wanting to study at a new tourism and hospitality college in Paihia, its chief executive says.

QRC Tai Tokerau Resort College was opened last week with an initial intake of 19 students, all but one of whom are young Maori from Northland. Up to 50 more students will be accepted this year. Eventually the roll could grow to 350.

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The college, based on Selwyn Rd in central Paihia, is a satellite campus of Queenstown Resort College but with some crucial differences.

QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips said students who qualified for a study grant, as determined by a means test, would pay about $3500 a year in fees. By contrast Queenstown students paid $13,000.

The course was residential with accommodation and three meals a day included. An accommodation allowance covered most of those costs. Students who could not afford the $80 per week shortfall could apply to the Northland Youth Education Trust.

Although set up by the college, the trust’s decisions were independent.

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The course was structured so that students studied for six months, completed a paid internship for nine months, then did another six months study. Even at minimum wage students should be able to earn $15,000 on internship to pay off their student loans. “So there should be no financial barrier to attending the college,” Mr Phillips said.

Students had to wear a uniform from day one and meet high standards of grooming, attendance and punctuality. That meant they could hit the ground running once they started work, he said.

The course also had a strong focus on pastoral care with a “super coach” responsible for organising after-school activities such as sport, music and kapa haka. The impetus for the college came from New Zealand Maori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan who saw it as a way of getting young Maori employed in the tourism industry.

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Plans to raise R3 million for youth’s bursaries

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – BRANDED Youth and Standard Bank plan to raise R3 million as bursaries for needy students in South Africa.

This is part of broader plans to empower youth in the country.

Through the Standard Bank Youth Expo set for August, the two organisations aim to through sponsorships, exhibitor contributions, donations from the public at large, including private businesses.

Once achieved, the money will be donated to various tertiary institutions, so they can award bursaries to deserving students.

Meanwhile, the Standard Bank Youth Expo is seen as a platform that will provide South African matriculants and university students with the tools to navigate the prevailing volatile economic environment. It set for August 6-7 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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The expo follows the realization that only about 15 percent of high school students make it to university, and the youth unemployment rate rests at 63,1 percent with the former influencing the latter.

“There’s a greater need for brands and organizations to engage with the youth of South Africa to ensure that they are educated and empowered for the future, we therefore designed The Standard Bank Youth Expo as a platform that will fully cater to this,” Bradley Maseko, Managing Director of Branded Youth, said.

Motlatsi Mkalala, Senior Manager for Youth Customer Financial Solutions at Standard Bank South Africa, said their research and the current political climate show that South African youth are concerned about their future outlook.

“They are afraid of becoming another unemployment statistic, failed entrepreneurs, or being unable to afford their tertiary tuition,” said Mkalala.

“The Standard Bank Youth Expo will show them that this does not have to be the case. The Youth Expo will provide all the resources necessary that can help turn dreams of future success and prosperity into reality.”

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SA has the means to make higher education more accessible

LAST year was a watershed year in the higher education sector, as students at most South African universities protested under the #FeesMustFall banner. Some were calling for free tertiary education.

Chapter 2 sub-section 29 (1) (b) of the Constitution states, “Everyone has a right to higher education which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.” It is quite clear that this does not create an obligation on the state to provide free higher education.

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The question that must be asked is whether the state has made advances since 1994 in making higher education available and accessible. The answer is a resounding yes when considering the growth in the number of students enrolled in South African higher education institutions including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, community colleges and universities.

The participation rate in higher education for youth in the 20-24 age group increased from 15.4% in 2003 to 19.5% in 2013.

The state has also made TVET colleges and universities accessible to thousands of poor students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The NSFAS Act was promulgated in December 1999 to give real effect to the government’s commitment to redress the inequities of the past and tackle the growing student debt problem in higher education institutions.

NSFAS and its predecessors awarded R50.5bn to about 1.5-million students in the form of loans and bursaries between 1991 and 2014 at 25 public higher education institutions and 50 TVET colleges.

Despite the increase in the number of students who now have access to higher education, when we consider the state budget allocated to universities from 2000 to 2014, it is clear that universities have become less affordable to students coming from poor and middle-income families.

The proportion of university income coming from the Department of Higher Education and Training’s budget vote declined in real terms from R15.93bn (which constituted 49% of total university income) in 2000 to R22.9bn (40.9%) in 2014. Universities raised student fees to offset the decline in state funding. The contribution of student fees to university income rose from R7.8bn (24%) in 2000 to R19.6bn (35%) in 2014.

SA’s spending on universities is comparatively low by world standards. In 2011, the state budget for universities including funding for the NSFAS, as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was 0.75%, just less than Africa as a whole (0.78%).

The budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year is 0.72% of GDP, lower than it was in 2011. This is also significantly lower when compared with the 2011 figures of African countries (0.78%), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries (1.21%) and the rest of the world (0.84%).

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The National Development Plan’s vision for 2030 is a post-school system that produces graduates who have skills to meet the current and future needs of the economy and society. The different parts of the education system should work together to allow students to take different pathways that offer high-quality learning opportunities.

There should be clear linkages between schools, further education and training colleges, universities of technology, universities and other providers of education and training. There should also be clear linkages between education and training and the world of work.

In spite of the progress SA has made to improve access to higher education, many challenges remain. Some of these are:

• The funding challenges and deteriorating affordability of higher education to students from poor and middle-income households;

• Students who do not qualify for NSFAS funding but are also financially constrained — the so-called “missing middle”;

• The high drop-out rate from higher education that particularly affects students from poor households;

• High youth unemployment. This particularly affects young people from poor families and graduates from historically disadvantaged universities; and

• NSFAS challenges, including ineffective administration and poor loan recovery.

SA has adequate resources and capacity to solve the challenges we face. The solutions lie in driving better co-ordination of government programmes in education generally, as well as driving better co-ordination and collaboration between the government on the one hand and the private sector and institutions of higher learning on the other.

A process has been started to accelerate the building of a sustainable public-private partnership model. This model plans to raise enough funding to offer comprehensive financial support to students from poor and middle-income households, as well as academic, psychosocial and life-skills support.

The key objective is to improve access, success and employment of poor and “missing middle” students as they enter, progress through and exit higher education institutions. Through this model, I believe it is possible to offer fully subsidised university education to the poorest students in exchange for some community service after graduation.

The model seeks to give effect to the constitutional requirement to improve access and success of students. Financial support would include a combination of grants, bursaries and loans regulated by various criteria, but with the guiding principles of reducing the financial burden on poor, means-tested households and the promotion of skills production of occupations in high demand. The loans-grants ratio will increase as the household income increases up to a determined middle-income threshold.

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The key success conditions for the model to be sustainable include:

• The creation of a robust public-private partnership based on a shared vision encapsulated in the National Development Plan that requires a post-school system that produces skills to meet the current and future needs of the economy and society;

• The development of innovative funding mechanisms to increase available funds substantially;

• Centralised objective control of all granting and disbursement decisions to optimise the production of graduates in occupations in high demand;

• Implementation of best of breed and “fit-for-purpose” student identification, household means-testing, grants and loans approval, loans collection and graduate employment placement. Social contracts with students together with comprehensive psychosocial and life skills support structures are also a priority; and

• Comprehensive data structures as well as auditing and monitoring systems in line with key goals.

SA has shown its resilience and ability to solve its challenges, and the challenges in higher education will be attended to if all stakeholders work together driven by a common vision.

The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) — a multistakeholder forum made up of social partners including organised labour, private sector and higher education institutions, among others — has taken up the issue of the funding of post-schooling education and will be hosting a summit at the Gallagher Estate convention centre in Gauteng with the theme: Partnerships for Skills — A Call to Action.

• Nxasana is a council member of the HRDC and chairman of NSFAS

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FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAMS INVEST IN FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN AND OUR FAMILY FARMERS

Farm to school programs are a win for kids, farmers, and communities. They empower our children and their families by informing them about their food system and giving them the tools and confidence to make healthy choices. At the same time they support local farmers financially by connecting them to new market opportunities.

On Tuesday, March 15, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the final results of their 2015 Farm to School Census. The census was great news for farm to school programs and for farmers, showing that the programs have had huge successes all across the country.

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Big Impacts for Farmers and Students

In surveying over 18,000 school districts across the country, census shows definitively that farm to school programs result in increased market opportunities for local farmers.  Some 42 percent of the school districts that responded to the survey reported that they hosted farm to school programs as of the 2014-2015 school year. According to the census local food purchasing from these school districts translated into nearly $800 million spent on local food during the 2013-2014 school year.

Farm to school programs are not only making big impacts now for the farmers, students and communities they serve, they’re poised for even more growth in the future.

Of the schools surveyed, 16 percent said that they plan to start programs in the future, and 46 percent of school districts currently sourcing from local producers report that they plan to buy even more local food in future school years.

Estimates from the USDA predict that the buying power of new farm to school programs, combined with pledged increases from current school districts, could result in an additional $350 million for family farmers. All together the economic impact of these current and future programs could top $1 billion according to USDA estimates.

Farm to school programs not only create new economic opportunities for farmers, they invest in the future of our children by giving them access to healthy, local foods and gardening and farm-based learning opportunities. By connecting students to agriculture, farm to school programs connect children and their families to a healthier way of eating both for themselves, and for the environment.

The Farm to School Census highlights the manifold social impacts and benefits of farm to school programs:

  • 38 percent of surveyed school districts indicated increased support from parents and the community for healthier school meals after introducing farm to school programs
  • 28 percent reported improved acceptance of healthier school meals by their students
  • 21 percent reported lower school meal program costs
  • 18 percent reported reduced plate waste, and
  • 17 percent indicated increased school meal program participation.

“One in a Melon”

To recognize outstanding school districts the USDA Farm to School Program is holding a contest in conjunction with the Farm to School

Census release, wherein school districts can win USDA’s coveted “One in a Melon” award.

Now through April 15, USDA will be accepting nominations through their website from parents, students, teachers, farmers and other community members for their favorite farm to school programs. Awards will be announced before the end of school year, with one district from each state winning!

See how your school district is doing and vote for your school district to win a “One in a Melon” award here.

The Farm to School Program: Past, Present & Future

Thanks to the leadership of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and our congressional champions the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) included, for the first time, mandatory funding of $5 million per year for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The Farm to School Grant Program has played an important role in supporting the growth of farm to school programs nationwide, as highlighted through the census.

Congress is currently going through the process of renewing authorization and funding for all school meal programs, including the USDA Farm to School Grant program, through the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). CNR expired September 30, 2015, which means Congress is now significantly behind in reauthorizing several critical nutrition, anti-hunger, and education programs for our nation’s children.

NSAC is currently working with our partners at the National Farm to School Network, along with key congressional champions, to encourage Congress to pass a CNR package with a robust Farm to School Grant Program expeditiously.

Four months after the last iteration of CNR expired, on January 20, the Senate Agriculture Committee took a critical step forward by unanimously voting their new version of the bill out of committee. Titled “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016”, the Senate committee bill includes an increase of $5 million in annual grant funding for the Farm to School Grant Program (from $5 to $10 million per year), which would significantly help school meal programs to increase local food purchases and expand educational food and agriculture activities.

The House Education and Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over CNR in the House, has yet to release or consider in committee their own version of the bill. However, NSAC has it under good authority that staff and committee members are in the process of writing their version of the bill, which they have indicated they plan to mark-up in committee in the near future.

NSAC has been actively urging House Education and Workforce Committee members and staff to follow the Senate’s lead and submit a robust CNR that supports our children and our family farmers, including, of course, a strong Farm to School grant program.

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Red & Yellow School Bursaries

 

Location: n/a,N/A, South Africa
Closing Date: Not specified

The Red & Yellow School has listened to South Africa’s call for education and will this year offer a greater number of bursaries for all its full and part time programmes in Marketing and Advertising.

“The 2015 Fees-must-Fall campaign once again highlighted the lack of tertiary opportunities for deserving previously disadvantaged candidates, especially in our industry,” says Red & Yellow’s CEO Lynette Oelschig.

“In addition to the desperate need for free education in our country, our industry struggles to reflect the markets it intends to connect with.”

These new bursaries are also driven by Red & Yellow’s Vision to educate 100 000 graduates in Africa by 2020, with 10% of those receiving free education.

Students who want to pursue a rewarding career in marketing & advertising should apply for one of the following programmes:

• Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications
• Diploma in Copywriting
• Marketing, Advertising and Communications Diploma aimed at the graduate student
• Advanced Diploma in Digital Marketing (distance learning)
• National Certificate in Advertising
For the past 22 years Red and Yellow has shaped the creative marketing industry by feeding in capable talent.

How to Apply?

Applications for 2016 are now open, and applicants are encouraged to apply immediately to avoid disappointment. Please email a letter of motivation to bursaries@redandyellow.co.za and be sure to complete the application form and submission test for the course of your choice. Alternatively visit Red & Yellow at their Open Day on Saturday 16 January 2016 between 10am and 1pm to find out more.

Source: salearnership


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International students express their support to SA’s #FeesMustFall

Students at the University of London in United Kingdom wrote a letter to express their unity with the students protesting against high fees in South Africa.

The letter was written by students of the School of Oriental and African Studies on Tuesday. They addressed the letter to the protesting student, staff and their supporters at the Witwaterstrand University‚ the University of Cape Town‚ Stellenbosch University and Rhodes University.

The students of SOAS stated on the letter that they have had similar experiences and have reclaimed their university. They said although they were backing up the protests and shutdowns, they insisted that the violence must stop.

The letter was posted on their Tumblr account.

The letter reads:

To the protesting students, staff and their supporters at the Witswaterstrand University, the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and the university currently known as Rhodes

Yesterday and again today, our Twitter and Facebook feeds have been awash with protesting students from Wits, the UCT, and the university currently known as Rhodes.

After mass protests at Wits led to the still unfulfilled promise of the suspension of fee hikes, UCT, Stellenbosch and Rhodes students took to the streets and likewise demanded that #FeesMustFall. We watched in awe at this mass expression of outrage at the austerity being meted out on South African university students.

Yet it is when police were called in by UCT management and given free reign to shoot students with rubber bullets, that we decided to write this statement of solidarity.

We therefore want to express our full solidarity towards the continued protests and shutdowns by the students and staff of Wits, UCT, Stellenbosch and Rhodes as well as other South African universities that are planning mass protests

The #FeesMustFall and the University must be decolonised and de-corporatised.

Aluta Continua…

The SOAS Student Occupation

Source: connect.citizen


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Water and Sanitation invites applications for Bursary/Scholarship programme 2016

Youth encouraged to apply for DWS Bursary/Scholarship programme 2016

There is a shortage of skills in the water and sanitation sector. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as the custodian of South Africa’s water resources, through its Learning Academy External Bursary Scheme, provides bursaries yearly to aid in closing this gap. DWS is welcoming all applicants who would like to pursue careers that are in line with the department’s core business.

The Department of Water and Sanitation scheme boasts an all-inclusive package recognised in South Africa as being highly competitive. The DWS External Bursary Scheme aims to attract exceptional young and innovative talent to the department; those that are adequately talented in this regard and wish to become part of SA’s water and sanitation sector team, need to be aware that  the DWS is ready to change their lives.

Students pursuing the following fields of study are eligible to apply: Analytic chemistry, Aquatic Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Cartography, Civil/Electrical/Mechanical engineering, Environmental Law/Management/ Science, Geo-chemistry, Geographical information systems, Geo-hydrology, Geology, Hydrology, Limnology, Microbiology, Surveying, Water and Sanitation, Water Care, Water Resource Management, and Water Utilisation.

The Learning Academy is committed to the effective administration of the programme, ensuring the provision of an immediate response to the perceived and imminent threat of skills shortages within DWS and the water and sanitation sector in South Africa. The immediate objectives of the Learning Academy are to forestall a skills shortage within DWS that will arise from the retirement of senior engineering and technical management personnel.

Currently DWS bursaries for the full time pre- and post-graduate studies are granted on an annual basis to learners at these South African universities:

  • University of Pretoria
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Free State
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Limpopo
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Walter Sisulu University
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • Durban University of Technology
  • Central University of Technology
  • Cape Peninsula of University of Technology
  • Vaal University of Technology
  • University of Venda
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Zululand

Bursaries will be allocated on the basis of a balanced consideration of academic performance, race and gender, financial need, need of DWS in reference to the specific qualification, and an interview schedule. Assistance will be provided on a year-to-year basis and bursaries will be renewed only if performance of bursars is satisfactory. Successful applicants to the bursary scheme receive full tertiary registration and tuition costs, residence and meal fees, book allowance, and an annual personal allowance.

The Department of Water and Sanitation will require bursars who obtain their qualifications to join the department’s Learning Academy on a fixed term contract for a period of maximum five years but not less than three years. To obtain the application form, the applicants should go to www.dws.gov.za/LearningA.

The closing date for 2016 bursary applications is 31 July 2015.

If you have a passion for water and sanitation, don’t let this great opportunity pass you by.

For enquiries:
Verena Meyer
Tel 012 336 7448
Email: meyerv@dwa.gov.za

Sputnik Ratau
Director: Media Liaison
Email: 082 784 2942

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Source: gov


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UCT makes space for bigger classes

The University of Cape Town is building a new lecture space that can accommodate 400 students in one auditorium.

The highly anticipated state-of-the-art building will help with the courses with a large number of enrolled students. The construction of this new lecture theatre started in November last year and is expected to be completed by April next year.

The lecture venue will be constructed on the vacant site south of the Humanities Graduate School building.

In keeping with the building’s aim to get a four-star green rating, the demolition of the existing house there included the recycling and rehabilitation of what was demolished.

Besides the venue supplying a new 400-seater lecture theatre it will also be a much-needed social space and a gateway to the southern end of the university campus.

The venue will include outdoor and indoor social spaces. It will also accommodate video recording of lectures for remote learning, video conferencing allowing four cameras, showing of full-length films from a single data projector and voice reinforcement for presenters

Chris Briers, director of projects and capital works, properties and services, says the lecture venue, an auditorium, will announce the corner of University Avenue.

Not only will this new lecture theatre benefit the students, it will be a bookable venue for use by others.

It is expected that the venue will be fully operational by the start of the second semester in July next year.

This venue is additional to the pool of venues and does not replace any venue.

“The construction of it was recommended early in 2010 as an urgent need was identified for a lecture venue to accommodate courses with large enrolments, without the need to split the courses,” added Briers.

Though a lot of work needs to be done, nothing will affect the environment and not a lot of changes will be done.

However, the trees that fall within the footprint of the new building will be impacted. All yellowwood and wild olive trees will be retained. Large exotic specimens, such as London planes near the old South bus stop, as well as the oak tree that resides on the corner of University Avenue, will be kept.

Thirteen new indigenous and exotic trees will be planted. This proposed row of trees might edge the southern boundary of the new lecture building on Madiba Road.

Nine trees that are on the alien invasive list will be removed. Nine more exotic trees will be removed, including eucalyptus, avocado and cypress trees.

One large indigenous wild peach tree will be removed, as well as a large coral tree. Although the coral tree may be viewed as valuable, it is too close to the wild peach tree and the new building footprint. A specialist has suggested that the tree has a wide branch structure and its branches and roots are intertwined with other trees and would therefore not be successfully relocated.

Source: news24


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Bursaries for Nature Conservation SA

Nature Conservation is all about protecting our earth.  Students will learn about caring for all animals, the natural environment and how to protect it.  Conservationists are constantly working in the field surrounded by nature and animals, tracking them, transporting them and caring for the injured or ill.  There are a couple of bursaries awarded yearly to South African students to provide skilled workers in a scarce field.

Here are some of the most common study fields if thinking about a career in nature conservation:

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  • Nature Conservation – National Diploma
  • Nature Conservation – Btech
  • Conservation Biology
  • Conservation Planning
  • Marine Science
  • Biological Science
  • Zoology
  • Biodiversity

Bursaries for these fields of study will be awarded to successful candidates that have the following requirements:

  • Candidates ought to be a South African citizen with a valid ID Book / ID Card.
  • Candidates must prove the need for financial assistance for further study.
  • Candidates must show a strong academic record.
  • Candidates must prove their dedication and eagerness to follow these fields.
  • Candidates must prove registration and acceptance at an Institute of Higher Learning.
  • Provide a letter motivating why they ought to be selected.
  • Only candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds will be considered

There are great companies providing bursaries for these fields of study and you can find more information about these bursary programs here with the following institutes:

There are also bursaries made available by ‘Environmental Affairs’ for these fields of study and students can also apply at the ‘South African Wildlife College’. SANBI also offers Post graduate Bursaries for MSC and PhD Honours in nature conservation.

Students in these fields can also follow Game Ranger or Forester career paths.  There are a number of institutes within South Africa always looking for new talent in tourist information centre advisor, conservation educators and more, international opportunities are also plenty.  One can also become a lecturer or tour guide with these studies.  Working with animals can lead you to game or nature reserves or even working for a zoo.

Do you see yourself as being a nature lover?  Do you find the environment interesting and would love to aid in its preservation?  Can you handle extreme weather and daily challenges?  Do you fit in anywhere and play best as part of a team?  Do you love all animals?   Well then, you should have a look at Nature conservation as a career path.

Source: bursaries-southafrica


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