File 20190121 100264 1md6je8.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Early childhood education can equip kids for later learning.
karelnoppe/Shutterstock

Moses Ngware, African Population and Health Research Center

There has been a big push by countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade to improve early childhood education. This refers to pre-primary schools, which usually caters to children aged between 4 and 5.

Research has shown that participating in early childhood development and education programmes is associated with better adjustment to later schooling, as well as higher levels of academic achievement.

Kenya is among the best regional performers in terms of early childhood development enrolment, as shown in the chart below. But enrolment doesn’t necessarily equate with quality.

UNESCO 2017

So in 2014, the Kenyan government introduced an early childhood education programme called Tayari – a Kiswahili word that means “readiness”. It was piloted over four years in more than 1800 public and private early childhood development and education centres. Tayari reached slightly over 72 000 pre-primary school leaners.

Tayari’s aim was to develop a cost-effective, scalable model of early childhood development and education that would prepare children cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally for primary school. The model had three interrelated components. The first was teacher training and classroom support. The second involved providing teachers and learners with appropriate instructional materials like learners’ work books and teacher guides. The third centred on health and hygiene knowledge, making children aware of why hand washing and healthy foods are important.

Cost-effectiveness was determined by comparing net gain scores on learner assessment to incremental costs of implementing Tayari. This information is important to policy makers in making alternative investment decisions.

So, did it succeed? My colleagues and I at the African Population and Health Research Centre conducted an independent external evaluation to find out. We wanted to assess the programme’s impact, and how cost effective it had been. Our findings were largely positive.

The learners who were exposed to Tayari were more ready to join primary grade 1 compared to those not involved in the programme. The Tayari model provides an opportunity to improve the quality of childhood learning in sub-Saharan Africa. It is flexible and can be tweaked to fit different contexts.

Measuring success

Our study involved a randomised control trial design. This means we created a natural experiment to compare scores of learners who were exposed to Tayari with those of similar learners not exposed. Using this approach, we sampled 600 pre-primary schools from the 1800 centres involved in the Tayari programme. Half of these were low-cost private early childhood development and education centres; the other half were public early childhood development and education centres.

We then compared learner assessment results from the centres that were exposed to learners of centres not exposed. We found that, on average, learners who’d been part of the Tayari programme were about three school months ahead of their peers who hadn’t taken part.

Crucially, we also found that the Tayari programme was cost-effective. By spending an extra US $14 per learner over a period of two years – that is, about US $7 a year – policymakers could enhance learners’ scores in early childhood development and education centres by an average of about 3 percentage points.

With a budget of US $7 million per year, the government can heavily subsidise the cost of 1 million learners in early childhood education in a way that will improve the quality and make the learners ready to join primary grade 1.

Future prospects

Our results suggest that the Tayari programme could provide a useful model for other countries in sub-Sahara Africa. The typical barriers addressed by Tayari includes inadequate provision of age-appropriate and context relevant quality teaching and learning materials; and, lack of capacity to offer classroom-based teacher coaching during instruction.

Policymakers have much to learn from the way the model was structured, and the way the overall package focused on instructional quality.

Of course, there are still gaps in our knowledge. We don’t know how long Tayari’s social and education benefits will persist; this will need to be the focus of future research. But, based on our study and its findings, we believe the Tayari model is suitable for scaling up by ministries of education and development partners.The Conversation

Moses Ngware, Senior Research Scientist, African Population and Health Research Center

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Fake qualifications are on the rise. How universities can manage the risk

File 20190122 100261 1h9681y.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Fake credentials are becoming more common in South Africa.
Shutterstock

Linda Ronnie, University of Cape Town and Suki Goodman, University of Cape Town

Fake credentials have become a global problem. The National Student Clearinghouse, a US NGO that offers a degree verification service, reports that falsified academic credentials are a serious, prevalent and ever-increasing problem. In 2015 the New York Times reported on a billion-dollar industry consisting of 3 300 “diploma mills”. These were fake universities that sold certificates for all levels of degrees, worldwide.

Buying totally fake academic certificates is only part of the problem. Those who have degrees may falsify their academic transcripts. This is made easier by the availability of sophisticated technology. Higher education is highly sought-after and provides a measure of status and improved job prospects. So some working professionals may not be able to resist the temptation of adding or altering a qualification on their CVs.

Fake credentials are becoming more common in South Africa. In 2018, the country saw a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent qualifications reported to regulatory bodies such as the South African Qualifications Authority. Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor revealed that the number of reported cases spiked from just 37 in 2011/12 to 982 in the 2017/18 financial year.

This only represents the number of fake credentials reported. The real number may be much higher. This poses a serious problem for universities and employers. It undermines their legitimacy and reputation and robs honest candidates of opportunities for further education or employment.

Fortunately, there are steps that universities and employers can take to protect themselves. These include the use of verification systems, reference checking and competency-based interviews.

Implications

For universities, fake qualifications pose a reputational risk – within other academic institutions and in the workplace. If postgraduate students manage to gain entry on a falsified transcript, their performance will be below standard. Future applicants from that university may be disadvantaged by association.

This also poses a risk to university selection criteria data and policy, as it damages the validity of using prior academic records as a predictor of success.

Another consequence is that fraudulent qualifications may increase the tendency for institutions to hire their own – accepting more students from their own institution for further study, or employment, rather than recruiting from further afield. That’s because students who’ve already been trained by the institution are more easily verified and represent a known entity.

For employers, hiring those who have falsified their qualifications or lied on their CVs can lead to costly exposure to legal action, high staff turnover, lost revenue and public reputational damage which may take years to repair.

For example, in 2012 it was discovered that Scott Thompson, the then CEO of Yahoo, had not earned the computer science degree he claimed. Instead, he had a degree in accounting. Herbalife’s CEO, Gregory Probert, was forced to resign in 2008 after it emerged that he did not have the MBA he claimed to.

Checks and balances

The University of Cape Town, where we work and conduct research, checks the validity of every undergraduate applicant’s school-leaving certificate. Postgraduate applicants must undergo rigorous selection processes. If falsified documentation is discovered, the application is rejected; in some instances, an enquiry or disciplinary process follows.

This approach is available to all universities in the country. South Africa is ahead of the curve when it comes to the ability to verify qualifications. It boasts a fully-automated, centralised online degree verification system, called MiE. This was the first commercial background screening company of its kind worldwide.

The system links higher education institutions to a centralised database where third party queries may be fielded. The service verifies Grade 12 certificates and checks tertiary qualifications. These include short courses, diplomas and degrees, which are checked directly with local and global institutions. The system also checks whether an academic institution is accredited by the relevant governing body.

For employers, and universities who are also large employers, it is imperative to follow due diligence and check references. Developing collegial relationships across institutions and other organisations can facilitate the due diligence process. Employers must do their homework online as well: check candidates’ online presence and across social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

In addition, a competency-based interview can go a long way in alerting interviewers to what may be a falsified qualification. Use the interview process to look for depth of knowledge across the applicant’s field.

Finally, when in doubt, don’t appoint. Additionally, have the courage not to appoint straight away. Even if someone appears to tick all the boxes, there is still a responsibility for due diligence. Re-advertise and continue the search to find other applicants when doubts arise. Taking extra time and care to properly vet qualifications, references and CVs will pay dividends in the long run.The Conversation

Linda Ronnie, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town and Suki Goodman, Associate professor, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Iphone XR Colours Available in South African Phone Dealers

 

Iphone XR Colours to chose from

Apple is offering the iPhone XR in the following color options:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Coral
  • Red

Irrespective of which color you go with, it is important to note that the iPhone XR featuresan aluminum chassis with glass front and back. And all color variants of the device come with a black front. This is because it allows Apple to better hide the notch which would otherwise be glaringly obvious with a white front.

iphone-xr-colours-south-africa

Iphone XR Features

Apple iPhone iPhone XR
Display diagonal: 15.5 cm (6.1″),
Display resolution: 1792 x 828 pixels
Display type: LCD
Processor family: Apple
Processor model: A12
Internal storage capacity: 64 GB
Rear camera resolution (numeric): 12 MP.
Rear camera type: Single camera.
3G, 4G. Operating system installed: iOS 12.

Where to Buy Iphone XR in South Africa

The Iphone XR is available in the following shops in South Africa

MTN

Vodacom

Cell C

Telkom