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The government is forging ahead with its plans to eradicate Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country’s post-school education institutions.

Under the Policy Framework to Address GBV in the Post-school Education and Training System (PSET), which came out for public comment this week, government aims to conceptualise GBV and define its manifestation in terms of existing laws and policies.

The framework details the international and national regulatory framework for institutional and departmental responses to GBV. It provides guidance around the structures, mechanisms and processes that institutions must put in place to address GBV.

This will be done by mandating institutions to develop a comprehensive, overarching policy to address GBV, which includes harassment and discrimination more broadly, staff grievance and disciplinary proceedings, as well as student and staff codes of conduct aligned and integrated within the total policy environment of the institution.

They will have to put support and assistance mechanisms in place that can immediately offer support to victims of GBV in institutions, as well as establishing effective reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Furthermore, they will also institute a charter on ethics that will be signed by all staff and student leadership in institutions.  The charter should clearly specify ethical conduct that pertains to the eradication of sexual harassment and GBV.

The latest statistics of the World Health Organisation reflect that 35% of women worldwide experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) or non-partner sexual violence.

In South Africa, the problem is even more severe. According to the South African Police Service (SAPS) Crime Statistics report of 2018, a total of 50 108 cases of sexual offenses were reported in 2017/8 – a 0.9% increase from the previous year. Femicide increased by 11% over the last two years.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), in the Crime against Women in South Africa (2018) report, estimates that 138 per 100 000 women were raped in 2016/17, the highest rate in the world.

GBV has also been linked to other societal problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, abuse of people with disabilities, safety of students and staff on campuses and in student residences, and mental health problems such as depression on the part of victims and their families.

These social problems have plagued the post schooling institutions, with more cases of rape and murder of women students being reported.

Most of these crimes against women were perpetrated by men who were well known to the victims, such as partners, former partners or fellow students.

Despite this, crimes affecting women remain underreported, resulting in students protesting against unsafe environments and demanding gender transformation in institutions.

These protests have negatively affected the academic calendar of institutions and in some instances, interfered with their academic progress.

With this in mind, the Policy Framework’s goals are to put supportive, efficient and reparative assistance procedures to complainants/victims in place.

This includes plans to establish just and specialised procedures for the reporting, investigation and resolution of complaints; and provide comprehensive, specialised support and other assistance to victims and where possible, perpetrators of GBV.

Government, for its part, will conceptualise and run a national GBV campaign at post-schooling institutions, and standardise institutional mechanisms tasked with dealing with sexual violence.

Government is also investigating the possibility of publishing a register of offenders that will be used in the recruitment of council members, staff and support personnel, as well as investigate a ‘whistle-blowing’ mechanism to report GBV in institutions.

The implementation date will be stated in the Government Gazette.

SOURCE- SAnews.gov.za

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UJ engineers step forward with prototype for low-cost ventilators

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The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus has pushed the government to work around the clock to ensure that the country is equipped and has access to essential resources during this pandemic.

Scientists have been working on a vaccine to fight the Covid-19 virus and now a team of engineers and health care specialists from the University of Johannesburg led by engineers Dr Deon Sabatta and Dr Samson Masebinu have created a prototype for a low-cost ventilator in their fight against the deadly Covid-19.

“Our product includes devices such as pressure sensors, flow sensors, and a number of control algorithms. It can, therefore, be set up to perform more advanced ventilation tasks such as pressure support ventilation (PSV) or synchronous intermittent mandatory ventilation (SIMV)”, Dr Deon Sabatta said.

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NYDA launches fund to assist youth-owned enterprises

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The National Youth Development Agency has taken the initiative to relief youth businesses in distress, through its newly launched Youth Micro Enterprise Relief Fund ( YMERF).

The fund is aimed at assisting youth-owned enterprises, which might not qualify for other funds. The agency says the fund will allow businesses to pay employees and relief businesses with lack of income and those waiting for other funding mechanisms.

“Funding will be capped at R10 000 for every qualifying business.”

For more information visit http://www.nyda.gov.za/

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Teraco provides 7.5M grant to facilitate the changing landscape of education in South Africa

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Data centre operator Teraco provided a 7.5 million grant in support of the  South African Broadband Education Networks (SABEN). In the next five years, this grant proposes to support SABEN ” in efforts to end bandwidth poverty among South African schools and public TVET colleges.”

Teraco CEO Jan Hnizdo says that the grant will assist in aiding these educational institutions to access content directly, expand their collective digital strategy, and lay essential foundations for future digital remote learning.

The grant is provided to the South African Broadband Education Networks (SABEN) via the Teraco Connect Foundation.

Taraco included in their announcement that, SABEN will be provided with a physical presence in Teraco data centres in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg and Colleges will have direct network access to Platform Teraco, providing institutions with secure and direct interconnection.

 “Platform Teraco allows configuration of scalable interconnections to all the major cloud ramps, 250 network providers (including carriers, terrestrial fibre, satellite connectivity and submarine cables), 50 global content providers, 130 IT service providers, 130 enterprises and financial services providers, and access to several Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) at NAPAfrica and INX.”

“Teraco provides carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data centres. It has over 14,500 cross-connections.”

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