Business and Finance

Business & Finance

DESPITE ALL EFFORTS, FESTIVE SEASON ROAD DEATHS IN SOUTH AFRICA CONTINUE TO RISE

Despite all efforts in enforcement and education, the death toll on South African roads this past festive season has increased by 5.0 per cent to 1,714 fatalities.Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, in releasing the official 2016/17 festive season acciden…

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South Africa: Cops Use Four-Legged Friend of a Different Kind to Fight Crime

The public is quite used to the fact that the SAPS K9 units utilize police dogs to assist in the fight against crime so when members of the Pietermaritzburg SAPS Mounted Unit patrolled the towns and beaches in the UGU Cluster on the KZN south coast on …

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South Africa: Matric 2016 – Open Letter to Umalusi

Dear Dr Rakometsi

I am writing this open letter to you in the spirit of constructive engagement. In doing so, my intention is to safeguard the integrity of our examination system, and to ensure that all learners get a fair deal.

This open letter follows my personal correspondence with you, which contained a series of questions related to the standardisation of the matric marks. In your rather defensivereply marked ‘private and confidential’, you declined to answer my questions.

As I am sure you will appreciate, as a Member of Parliament I have a constitutional obligation to “maintain oversight of the exercise of national executive authority.” The standardisation of our matric marks – as a joint exercise undertaken by Umalusi and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) – is such an exercise of executive authority.

I would therefore be failing in my constitutional obligations if I did not raise questions and concerns relating to the standardisation process when they arise. It is worth adding that your refusal to answer these questions is a serious failure on your part. Indeed, it is a contradiction of one of the principles of standardisation as outlined in the preface of Umalusi’s own guidebook entitled “Understanding Statistical Moderation” which states:

“Sharing this information forms part of Umalusi’s commitment to making its processes transparent to all who have an interest in the examinations Umalusi quality assures and certificates.”

This open letter is your opportunity to re-affirm Umalusi’s commitment to transparency, and I look forward to your open and honest response. I am going to divide the rest of the letter into three sections to make it easier to read and respond to.

1. The general trend towards upward adjustments

At the standardisation meeting in Pretoria last Friday, we learned that 32 of the 58 subjects had their marks adjusted (compared to 29 in 2015). Of the 32 adjusted subjects, 28 had their marks adjusted upwards and only four downwards.

Some of the subjects saw a dramatic upwards adjustment. The following six subjects saw the biggest upward adjustment from the raw mark:

Subject Candidates Raw mark rejected(mean) Adjusted mark accepted (mean) Adjustment Historical mean (2011-16)

Maths Literacy 389 015 30,06 37,22 +7,16 37,20

Mathematics 285 439 27,01 30,79 +3,78 30,94

Business Studies 248 733 33,07 38,74 +5,67 38,72

IsiZulu HL 172 611 55,12 61,79 +6,67 61,77

Xitsonga HL 27 405 54,91 64,83 +9,92 67,32

Hospitality Studies 8 317 46,22 52,26 +6,04 52,23

According to Umalusi and the DBE, adjusting the raw mark upwards is justified if the exam paper was demonstrably more difficult (i.e. more cognitively demanding) than previous years. However, no evidence has been put forward to demonstrate that these papers were of a higher standard.

I noticed at the standardisation meeting that the starting point for adjusting the marks was not the papers themselves, but the results. In cases when the raw mark was worse than last year’s, the DBE went back to the paper and found difficult questions to explain the drop in the raw mark. The DBE then motivated for the raw mark to be adjusted upwards accordingly.

This methodology seems incorrect. It would seem that – as a general principle – the cognitive demand of the papers should be assessed independently of the marks. This should preferably happen before the papers are written so that the need to adjust the marks afterwards is minimised.

The obvious problem of using the raw marks as an indicator of a paper’s cognitive demand is that there may be cases in which the paper was of the appropriate standard, but the learners (for whatever reason) were below the standard of previous years. Adjusting the marks upwards in such cases would therefore mask systemic problems that need to be addressed.

I believe that there is an obligation on Umalusi to publish evidence that the exam papers for all 28 subjects adjusted upwards were more cognitively demanding than previous years. The public has a right to know why the marks were adjusted in each case.

2. The impact of progressed learners

109 400 progressed learners (13.4% of the total enrolment) wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination in 2016, up from 66 088 in 2015. It follows, therefore, that that there was a significant increase in the number of weaker students who wrote the NSC this year. This raises the question of whether the inclusion of progressed learners in the standardisation process leads to certain anomalies.

If the raw marks are used as an indicator of an exam paper’s cognitive demand (as described above), then it is likely that the inclusion of progressed learners in the standardisation process will skew the data. This is because, if the raw marks are lower than previous years (when there were no progressed learners), then these low marks could be as a result of the inclusion of weaker students (i.e. progressed learners) and not because the papers were more difficult.

As set out earlier, the only legitimate justification for adjusting the raw mark is if the paper was more or less cognitively demanding than previous years. Could it be that the inclusion of progressed learners in the standardisation process creates additional impetus to adjust the marks upwards, for reasons not related to the cognitive demand of the papers? And, if so, would this not mean that the marks of non-progressed learners will end up higher than previous years when there were no progressed learners?

3. The retention of raw marks when they are high

A closer look at the 26 subjects that retained their raw score reveals another anomaly that could potentially threaten the integrity of the standardisation process.

I mentioned earlier how, at the standardisation meeting, when the raw mark for a subject was low, DBE and/or Umalusi went back to the exam paper and identified tough questions in the paper to justify an upward adjustment. Curiously, I did not observe the same methodology being employed when the raw mark was better than the historical mean.

There was little interrogation of why the raw mark was better than last year’s, and whether this could have been because the paper was ‘too easy’. In some cases, instead of adjusting the marks downwards, the good raw mark was accepted as a welcome sign that the system is improving. Indeed, this logic was evident in your press statement released yesterday: “It is pleasing to see that the marks of subjects such as Physical Science and History could be left as unadjusted… “

A glance at the data, however, shows that there may have been good reason to adjust these marks downwards to bring them into line with the historical mean. At the very least, there needs to be an explanation (based on an assessment of the cognitive demands of the papers) as to why such a downward adjustment was not made.

Choosing the (higher) raw mark over the (lower) computer-adjusted mark occurred in the following eight cases:

Subject Candidates Raw mark accepted(mean) Adjusted mark rejected (mean) Difference between raw & adjusted Historical mean (2011-16)

Physical Science 204 661 35,48 34,45 +1,03 34,47

History 165 315 44,56 44,01 +0,55 44,00

English HL 109 781 54,72 54,34 +0,38 54,33

Sesotho FAL 494 58,31 57,81 +0,50 57,74

Dance Studies 472 62,70 60,91 +1,79 60,80

Setswana FAL 172 64,56 62,71 +1,85 62,51

isiXhosa SAL 80 72,46 71,53 +0,93 70,89

isiZulu SAL 14 79,46 75,49 +3,97 73,01

In Physical Science, for example, the raw mark (mean) was 35,48. The computer recommended a score of 34,45 to bring the final mark in line with the historical mean of 34,47. However, Umalusi and DBE rejected this computer adjustment.

In all eight cases above, the computer recommended an adjustment that would bring the final mark closer to the historical mean, but this recommendation was rejected and the higher raw mark was used instead.

Why is this? And why was the computer’s recommendation of a downward adjustment rejected in these eight cases, but its recommendation of an upward adjustment accepted in the 28 cases mentioned in section 1?

* * *

To sum up, there is reason to believe that the standardisation process may lead to an artificial inflation of the matric marks this year:

Firstly, there was an upward adjustment in 28 subjects. This is not in and of itself a problem if it can be demonstrated that these adjustments were effected due to the increased cognitive demand of the exam papers. However, at this stage, no such evidence has been forthcoming.

Secondly, 13,4% of the learners who wrote the National Senior Certificate were progressed learners. The inclusion of progressed learners in the standardisation process could lead to an artificial inflation of the marks of non-progressed learners, as marks are adjusted upwards to compensate for the inclusion of non-progressed learners in the cohort.

Thirdly, there was a tendency to retain the raw marks when the raw marks were higher than the recommended computer adjustment. If you adjust upwards when the raw mark is low, and keep the raw mark when the raw mark is high, I fear that we may end up artificially inflating the marks. This could result in a number of matriculants with passes and bachelor passes on paper, but lacking the actual cognitive skills to succeed in the real world of tertiary study and work.

There may be good explanations for all of the issues mentioned above. If so, please share them so that we can satisfy ourselves that standards are maintained, the integrity of the 2016 matric exams is intact and that no learners have been unduly advantaged or disadvantaged in any way.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: Democratic Alliance

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Governance

Germany and African Countries Seek to Strengthen Trade and Investment Ties at First Ever

Germany-Africa Business Forum

Africa is a priority for German government in 2017 as it holds G20 presidency

There is much consensus for building trade relations; Africa is world’s fastest

growing region and German companies need to find new markets

This year, Germany will host the first ever privately held event exclusively

dedicated to strengthening trade and investment ties between Germany and the African

continent. The Germany-Africa Business Forum (www.GermanyAfrica.com), which will take

place March 23, 2017 in Frankfurt, capitalizes on a wave of interest taken by the German

government and companies to increase their engagement with African countries. Last

October, German Chancellor made a 3-day visit to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia, vowing that

Africa would be a major focal point of its G20 presidency, which began in December 2016.

Even with annual trade with Africa of $60 billion, Germany has lagged behind

other countries that have done more to seize trade opportunities. The Germany-Africa

Business Forum will seek to familiarize German companies with the continent and diversify

their investment base. Out of more than $10 billion in German investments on the

continent each year, 90 percent is with just three countries � South Africa, Nigeria and

Algeria.

There is a consensus that Africa remains ripe for German Mittelstand companies

are already showing an interest in places where their skills and technology can bring

value,rdquo; said Charles Huber, MP and Member of the Committee on Economic Cooperation

and Development, Republic of Germany, a keynote speaker at the forum. Germany’s need to

expand to new markets coincides with increasingly healthy economic indicators in many

African countries, including a growing middle class, more political stability and an

appetite to develop manufacturingdomestically. What Africa appreciate is in particular

German work ethic, precision and reliability.rdquo;

There is a consensus that Africa remains ripe for German investment, from small-

startups to industrial giants spanning the economic spectrum. German Mittelstand

companies are already showing an interest in places where their skills and technology can

bring value. Germany shows a strong need to expand to new markets, with companies doing

just 2 percent of their business in Africa.

The time to strengthen German-African trade and investment connections has never

been greater. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa and the

continent is projected to be the world’s fastest growing region until 2040. The Germany-

Africa Business Forum seeks to bridge the gaprdquo; by facilitating dialogue, business

dealings and dynamic commercial and political interchange.

There is already a strong foundation of trade relations between Nigeria and

Germany and an even stronger rationale to expand upon them,rdquo; said the Honourable

Okechukwu E. Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade amp; Investment of Nigeria, who will

be presenting at the event. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, one of its most stable

democracies and boasts a business-friendly climate. And whether it is construction,

manufacturing or technology, German companies carry a legacy of innovation and know-how

that can deliver tremendous value for both sides.

Already confirmed as speakers for the Germany-Africa Business Forum include

Charles Huber, MP and Member of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development,

Republic of Germany; Okechukwu E. Enelamah, Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade amp;

Investment of Nigeria; H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

of Equatorial Guinea; and Carole Kariuki, CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

For more information, please visit www.GermanyAfrica.com.

Source: Germany-Africa Business Forum.

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Germany and African Countries Seek to Strengthen Trade and Investment Ties at First Ever

Germany-Africa Business Forum

Africa is a priority for German government in 2017 as it holds G20 presidency

There is much consensus for building trade relations; Africa is world’s fastest

growing region and German companies need to find new markets

This year, Germany will host the first ever privately held event exclusively

dedicated to strengthening trade and investment ties between Germany and the African

continent. The Germany-Africa Business Forum (www.GermanyAfrica.com), which will take

place March 23, 2017 in Frankfurt, capitalizes on a wave of interest taken by the German

government and companies to increase their engagement with African countries. Last

October, German Chancellor made a 3-day visit to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia, vowing that

Africa would be a major focal point of its G20 presidency, which began in December 2016.

Even with annual trade with Africa of $60 billion, Germany has lagged behind

other countries that have done more to seize trade opportunities. The Germany-Africa

Business Forum will seek to familiarize German companies with the continent and diversify

their investment base. Out of more than $10 billion in German investments on the

continent each year, 90 percent is with just three countries � South Africa, Nigeria and

Algeria.

There is a consensus that Africa remains ripe for German Mittelstand companies

are already showing an interest in places where their skills and technology can bring

value,rdquo; said Charles Huber, MP and Member of the Committee on Economic Cooperation

and Development, Republic of Germany, a keynote speaker at the forum. Germany’s need to

expand to new markets coincides with increasingly healthy economic indicators in many

African countries, including a growing middle class, more political stability and an

appetite to develop manufacturingdomestically. What Africa appreciate is in particular

German work ethic, precision and reliability.rdquo;

There is a consensus that Africa remains ripe for German investment, from small-

startups to industrial giants spanning the economic spectrum. German Mittelstand

companies are already showing an interest in places where their skills and technology can

bring value. Germany shows a strong need to expand to new markets, with companies doing

just 2 percent of their business in Africa.

The time to strengthen German-African trade and investment connections has never

been greater. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa and the

continent is projected to be the world’s fastest growing region until 2040. The Germany-

Africa Business Forum seeks to bridge the gaprdquo; by facilitating dialogue, business

dealings and dynamic commercial and political interchange.

There is already a strong foundation of trade relations between Nigeria and

Germany and an even stronger rationale to expand upon them,rdquo; said the Honourable

Okechukwu E. Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade amp; Investment of Nigeria, who will

be presenting at the event. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, one of its most stable

democracies and boasts a business-friendly climate. And whether it is construction,

manufacturing or technology, German companies carry a legacy of innovation and know-how

that can deliver tremendous value for both sides.

Already confirmed as speakers for the Germany-Africa Business Forum include

Charles Huber, MP and Member of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development,

Republic of Germany; Okechukwu E. Enelamah, Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade amp;

Investment of Nigeria; H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

of Equatorial Guinea; and Carole Kariuki, CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

For more information, please visit www.GermanyAfrica.com.

Source: Germany-Africa Business Forum.

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SOUTH AFRICA COMMITTED TO SAHARAWI’S RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

South Africa has committed to continue walking with the people of Saharawi until they are free to live in their own land and able to determine their own future.We stress our commitment to support the people of West Saharawi. We have been with them for …

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General

General

Stella Artois Calls For Partners To Join The Fight To End The Global Water Crisis With Matt Damon And Gary White At World Economic Forum

Global brand announces multi-year partnership with Water.org to help bring clean water to more than 3.5 million people in the developing world DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Stella Artois and Water.org called for international business leaders, corporations, media and consumers to join the mission to help end […]

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Des dirigeantes africaines avant-gardistes dans le domaine de la santé mondiale se voient attribuer les récompenses suprêmes de l’USP CePAT

Les dirigeantes partagent leurs perspectives de mentorat avec des étudiantes et de jeunes professionnelles ACCRA, Ghana, 15 janvier 2017 /PRNewswire/ — La United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) a honoré quatre éminentes africaines, parmi lesquelles la présidente de l’Ile Maurice, pour leurs contributions à la science et à la santé publique, dans le cadre du programme d’Excellence du […]

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Trailblazing African Female Global Health Leaders Receive USP CePAT’s Top Honors

Women Leaders Share Mentoring Insights with Female Students, Young Professionals ACCRA, Ghana, Jan. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) honored four leading African women, including the President of Mauritius, for contributions in science and public health, during the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training’s (CePAT’s) Honors program today in Accra. Before receiving […]

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Medical and Health

Medical/Health Care

Jhpiego Reaches Two Million Men and Youth with Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention

BALTIMORE, July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — More than 2 million men and youth across sub-Saharan Africa have reduced their lifetime risk of HIV infection by accessing Jhpiego-supported voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services. This milestone represents more than 15 percent of the World Health Organization-estimated 11.7 million VMMCs performed worldwide. Jhpiego, a nonprofit global health […]

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Johnson & Johnson lance un appel aux idées innovantes afin de réduire les infections au VIH en Afrique subsaharienne

Les partenaires DREAMS annoncent un défi de l’innovation de 85 millions $ axé sur les solutions pour les adolescentes et les jeunes femmes NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey, le 18 février 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Aujourd’hui, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE : JNJ) a lancé un appel pour des idées innovantes dans le cadre du défi de l’innovation DREAMS qui est soutenu […]

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New Malaria Test, illumigene® Malaria, Sets a New Gold Standard for Diagnosis

Meridian Bioscience Collaborates With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar to Launch Diagnostic Test up to 80,000 Times More Sensitive Than Current Options CINCINNATI, Jan. 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) today announced that it has received the CE Mark for illumigene® Malaria, a novel, highly […]

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Sports

Sports

SOUTH AFRICAN LABOUR FEDERATION WORRIED ABOUT JOB LOSSES IN POULTRY INDUSTRY

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the country’s main labour federation, has expressed “extreme concern” over pending job losses in the poultry industry as a result of imports.Cosatu, which is a partner of the ruling African National …

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WEST AFRICAN LEADERS TO TAKE ‘MAJOR DECISION’ ON GAMBIA, NIGERIA SAYS

West African leaders will take a “major decision” on the political impasse in Gambia at a meeting in Ghana on Saturday, a spokesman for the Nigerian presidency said on Friday.The West African ECOWAS bloc said last month it would take all necessary ste…

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PRES ZUMA WISHES SOUTH AFRICANS A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR

President Jacob Zuma has wished all South Africans a happy, successful, productive and prosperous New Year, 2017.He said South Africa has come to the conclusion of a fruitful and productive 2016We moved a step further this year in fighting poverty, ine…

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Technology

Technology

Minister Gigaba to Announce 2016 Festive Season Traveller Statistics

The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba will on Wednesday, 18 January 2017, address
members of the media on the 2016 festive season traveller statistics. The Minister will also provide an update on the Lesotho Special Permit
application process…

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Minister Gigaba to Announce 2016 Festive Season Traveller Statistics

The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba will on Wednesday, 18 January 2017, address
members of the media on the 2016 festive season traveller statistics. The Minister will also provide an update on the Lesotho Special Permit
application process…

Continue Reading

BOTSWANA FM CONFIDENT OF BECOMING NEXT AU COMMISSION CHAIRPERSON

With about two weeks left before elections to choose the next African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, one of the five candidates for the post believes she has what it takes to be elected.Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and In…

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