UKZN Launches PhD Cohorts in Zimbabwe and Swaziland

UKZN Launches PhD Cohorts in Zimbabwe and Swaziland
From left: Professor Gregory Kamwendo; Professor Pholoho Morojele; Mr Christopher Mushohwe; Professor Vitallis Chikoko and Dr Federrico Settler.

UKZN’s College of Humanities recently launched PhD cohorts in Zimbabwe and Swaziland as part of their efforts to ensure an increase in PhD graduates and to create mutual academic partnerships between UKZN, the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) and Swaziland.

Four academics from UKZN - Professor Gregory Kamwendo, Professor Vitallis Chikoko, Professor Pholoho Morojele and Dr Federrico Settler – held the PhD cohort sessions in Harare and Masvingo with PhD candidates presenting their proposed topics.

Zimbabwean Minister responsible for the Presidential Scholarship Programme, Mr Christopher Mushohwe, addressed the cohort, urging students to take advantage of the PhD opportunity. He thanked UKZN for bringing the PhD programme to Zimbabwe. 

In Masvingo, one of the participants was the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who is preparing to pursue a PhD within Religion, Philosophy and Classics.

The PhD/M. Ed cohort was also launched at Ngwane College in Swaziland where PhD candidates were also given the opportunity to present their proposed topics and gain essential feedback on their research efforts.

The launch of the PhD cohorts was reported in the media in both Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Education Professor Gregory Kamwendo, said the support for the PhD cohort at government level and institutionally was positive. ‘More applications are coming in since the launch of the cohorts with some academics in Zimbabwe and Swaziland offering to be affiliated to UKZN so that they can be part of the cohort supervisory team. We are also processing the affiliation through honorary appointments.’

A Memorandum of Agreement exists between UKZN’s College of Humanities and the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).

-           Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Team at Kearsney College Career Expo

UKZN Team at Kearsney College Career Expo
UKZN addressed a number of interested schools at the Kearsney College Career Expo.

Representatives from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES), the College of Humanities and the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) teamed up to participate at the Kearsney College Career Expo.

There were almost 70 exhibitors at the Expo which attracted about 600 visitors including learners, teachers and parents from Saint Mary’s, Thomas Moore, Hillcrest, Kloof, Waterfall College, Hlahlindlela and the KwaNtebeni Comprehensive High School.

The learners were given information booklets about CAES and programmes at the University generally.

The Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit attracted a large number of interested onlookers who were fascinated by the exciting and interactive displays.

Mrs Susan Wilson of CAES was on hand to provide additional information to those interested. ‘It was wonderful to interact with the learners and to give them the opportunity to find out about studying Astronomy and Cosmology at UKZN. Many students were interested and it was exciting to discuss all the current and future developments in the field which could lead to successful and fascinating careers,’ said Wilson.

Learners who visited the UKZN stand were treated to CAES branded bags and pens.

Headmaster of Kearsney, Mr Elwyn van den Aardweg, said: ‘The Kearsney Careers Day is presented to assist Kearsney boys as well as learners from schools in the Highway area and those in schools where Kearsney is involved in outreach projects, in their choice of careers.

‘It is an opportunity to have a positive impact on our local community and to inspire young people. A large variety of study opportunities and career options were on display, with opportunities for one-on-one discussions and follow-up. Feedback from exhibitors and visitors was tremendously positive,’ said van den Aardweg.

          -  Leena Rajpal

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Teaching and Learning Unit Hosts Open Day

Teaching and Learning Unit Hosts Open Day
Teaching and Learning staff with students at the Teaching and Learning Open Day.

The Teaching and Learning Unit at the College of Law and Management Studies hosted an Open Day to inform the University community of the services it offers.

The information sharing event on the Westville campus provided an opportunity for academics and students to engage with staff from the Unit and discover the activities/programmes they could benefit from.

In his address, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi, highlighted the important role the Unit plays in enhancing teaching and learning which is one of the Colleges strategic goals.

The Unit runs three student focused programmes - Academic Literacies, Academic Monitoring and Support and the Foundation Programme. The Unit also hosts an annual Winter School for Grade 11 and 12 learners from quintiles 1-3 who receive tuition in Mathematics, English Language and Economics.

The Unit’s Head, Dr Annah Bengesai, said it was important for students to be aware of the support structures available so that they could enhance their proficiency and academic performance. 

‘The programmes offered by the Unit do not only develop the independence of students in learning approaches but also teach them communication, research and presentation skills which are vital for a successful academic career.

‘The Open Day has also created an opportunity for students to meet and familiarise themselves with those guiding them through their academic journey and for them to know where we are located and that our doors are always open to them,’ said Bengesai.

-       Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Academic Recognised as NRF Researcher

UKZN Academic Recognised as NRF Researcher
Professor Sanjana Brijball Parumasur.

The School of Management, Information Technology and Governance’s Professor Sanjana Brijball Parumasur’s excellence in research has been rewarded with a National Research Foundation (NRF) rating.

The rating is awarded to individuals based primarily on the quality and impact of their research outputs over the past eight years, taking into consideration the evaluation made by local and international peers.

To fulfil the requirements necessary for securing the rating Brijball Parumasur started her application in 2012. Hence her quest for obtaining the rating started with acquiring knowledge about the application process.

‘It is therefore imperative to start completing the application form many months before the cycle in which you would like to apply begins.  The Research Division of UKZN also holds regular workshops often conducted by rated academics that guide the completion of the form.  I am grateful to Professor P. Berjak and Professor N. Pammenter from Botanical Sciences at UKZN for guiding me during my application process.

‘Pammenter played a critical role in ensuring that I included all key aspects that the form required and in the correct format with the correct focus and orientation,’ said Brijball Parumasur.

As a successful candidate, Brijball Parumasur is excited about the funding opportunities that come with the rating and to impart cutting-edge skills to her post-graduate students and the next generation of researchers. To date Brijball Parumasur has supervised 15 doctoral graduates and 35 masters research students (excluding honours and MBA research students) during her 22 year academic career.

Brijball Parumasur’s key focus is on managerial and organisational development and effectiveness which has seen her publish a tremendous amount of research with her masters and doctoral students.

‘In my quest to maintain and hopefully improve my rating, I aim to engage in collaborative and independent, local and international research and see this as a challenge that I am approaching with immense enthusiasm. I have always enjoyed research and supervision and believe my output is an outcome of inner drive, enthusiasm and hard work,’ she said.

Currently, Brijball Parumasur is supervising several masters and doctoral students and undertaking collaborative research in several areas of Human Resource Management and Consumer Psychology and independent research in organisational development interventions and, workplace spirituality.

She is also the Section Editor of the South African Journal of Industrial Psychology (SAJIP) which has a current Global Impact Factor of 3.66 and reviewer for many local and international accredited journals. 

These research endeavours will enable Brijball Parumasur to fulfil her responsibility to the NRF and to hold on to the rating by engaging in focused, quality-driven research.

-    Thandiwe Jumo

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Innovative Research by Physics Professor Published in Reputed Journal

Innovative Research by Physics Professor Published in Reputed Journal
Professor Mark Tame.

An article by Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Physics, Professor Mark Tame, on his ground-breaking research concerning a new kind of quantum error correction has been published in the reputed Nature Communications journal.

Tame’s work could have huge implications for quantum information processing, which in turn offers incredible potential for computing and communication applications.

A theorist and experimentalist in quantum optics and quantum information in the Centre for Quantum Technology, Tame has focused his research on quantum nanophotonic systems.

He works on developing techniques to use quantum features of these systems to build devices for applications in quantum information processing.

Nature Communications is a high-impact journal with a wide, interdisciplinary readership in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Publication in the journal ensures good coverage of the research to a large base of scientists.

The field of quantum information is highly interdisciplinary, making the publication the appropriate vehicle for speedy dissemination of the team’s work to researchers working in several areas connected with quantum information.

‘The research has many potential applications in quantum information processing, so it’s essential to share this information with the wider scientific community as rapidly as possible,’ said Tame.

Tame led the collaborative project between UKZN and researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Bath in England, Telecom ParisTech in France and the National University of Singapore.

The collaboration covered in Tame’s article deals with errors which arise in the running of a quantum information protocol. The team addressed the problem of error-correcting schemes developed so far, which require huge overheads in resources not available to most physical systems.

The team reported the first experimental demonstration of a new kind of quantum error correction that uses compact resources known as graph states, which present a powerful approach to the problem of error correction. The experiment was performed at the University of Bristol, while the theory it is based on was developed at UKZN, Telecom ParisTech and the National University of Singapore.

‘Our results constitute a breakthrough in several respects,’ explained Tame. ‘We have experimentally demonstrated all the elements of a graph state quantum error-correcting code in a photonic setting, which has immediate applications for quantum communication.

‘On the other hand, the generation of a graph state followed by its careful manipulation via measurements are the essential building blocks for measurement-based quantum protocols, such as quantum computing. By performing a complete analysis of each step of our work, we demonstrate the feasibility of graph codes and more generally the newly introduced measurement-based paradigm for quantum computing.’

Tame obtained his PhD in Quantum information from Queen’s University Belfast in 2007, where he pioneered the use of small entangled photonic systems for realising quantum computing protocols. He has held research fellowship positions at Osaka University in Japan, Queen’s University Belfast and Imperial College in the United Kingdom.

He will continue with his research along the lines of that in the article by miniaturising the “bulk” optical setup used in this experiment so that the technology can be commercialised. This will allow scalable quantum information processing, for example quantum computing, to be realised.

Tame will undertake this process at UKZN through the Centre for Quantum Technology by designing and experimentally testing a new nanophotonics platform for quantum information processing known as plasmonics.

‘This involves the interaction between light and electrons – which have traditionally been used for classical information processing,’ he said. ‘The hybrid nature of this new type of optical-electronic system brings all sorts of benefits that I am hoping to exploit in my future research.’ 

-   Christine Cuénod

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U-Estelle Kokot e-UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

U-Estelle Kokot e-UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music
u-Estelle Kokot edlala e-Centre for Jazz and Popular Music.

Umculi ozinze e-United Kingdom ongumculi, umbhalizingoma, umdlali wopiyano u-Estelle Kokot ubecula izingoma ezikwi alibhamu yakhe eyaziwa ngele –The Sound of You Songbook e-Centre for Jazz and Popular Music.

uKokot – wazalelwa e-UK wakhulela e-Zimbabwe naseNingizimu Afrika lapho aqala khona ngokudlala neqembu le-jazz laseNingizimu Afrika elaziwa ngePhambili elaliholwa umdlalisiginci nomqambizingoma uVictor Ntoni nomshayicilongo u-Duke Makazi.

i-Sound of You Songbook iwumsebenzi wokubambisana kwababhalizingoma nophrojusa o-Chicco Freeman noJan Pulsford.

 u-Pulsford usebhale, waphrojusa waphinde wadlala nabaculi abafana no-Thompson Twins, Cyndi Lauper, noDarlene Love.

uKokot wavele wathatheka yizingoma ezibhalwe ngokuhlanganyela nombhali omdala u-Freeman naye ongumculi, umqambizingoma nophrojusa.

uKokot udlala i-The sound of You Book nomshayisiginci , uHerbie Tsoaeli nomshayimadramu, uKevin Gibson. Bobathathu bazoqopha le alibhamu ngele-Songbook kuyo le nyanga.

Click here for English version

-           U-Melissa Mungroo  noThuli Zama

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Nutrition – The Focus at Community Forum Presentation

Nutrition – The Focus at Community Forum Presentation
Ms Zamazulu Mtshali (extreme right) at the info4africa/MRC KZN Community Forum.

Nutrition - a vital component of all public health strategies – was the focus of a presentation by the Deputy Manager for the Integrated Nutrition Programme (INP) at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Ms Zamazulu Mtshali.

Mtshali was speaking at a recent info4africa/MRC KZN Community Forum.

info4Africa is a self-funded Centre at the School of Applied Human Sciences within UKZN’s College of Humanities.

‘The Integrated Nutrition Programme works towards improving the nutritional status of all South Africans, through the implementation of integrated programmes and initiatives,’ said Mtshali. ‘The programme’s approach also includes monitoring which is used as a way to better target resources where they are needed most.’

Mtshali said nutritional transition existed in KwaZulu-Natal, with the existence of both under and over-nutrition. ‘Within the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and coupled with food insecurity, the province faces a unique set of challenges.’

She said 1 in 20 children in KwaZulu-Natal died before their fifth birthday, and of those, 38% died outside of the health service, 55% died in association with HIV/AIDS and 33% had suffered underlying severe malnutrition.

Mtshali’s presentation also showed how, through a series of primary and secondary interventions, the Department had created target groups which received priority attention through a set of important intervention programmes.

These groups include children aged 0 to 23 months and children between 2 to 14.

‘Over the years, significant gains have been made with regards to scaling up nutrition, with the development of policies and guidelines for the implementation of nutrition strategies and there is now a renewed focus on specific priority groups for nutrition interventions to have a bigger impact,’ she said.

This focus on nutrition contributes to bigger health sector priorities, which include: increasing life expectancy; decreasing infant and maternal mortality; combating HIV/AIDS and decreasing the burden of disease from TB and improving health care programme effectiveness.

Guided by the provincial Growth and Development Plan and the Department of Health’s General Health Strategy, the Department works closely with both private and public sector stakeholders to overcome these unique challenges.

The info4africa/MRC KZN Community Forum is hosted each month and showcases important research and developments in health, wellbeing and socio-economic development in South Africa.

The forums are open to the public.

 -    Melissa Mungroo and Catherine Jenkin

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