South Africa: National Youth Development Agency Welcomes Decision to Settle NSFAS Students’ Historic Debts


The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor to allocate nearly a billion rands for scrapping historical debts for National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funded students.

Executive Chairperson of the NYDA, Mr Sifiso Mtsweni has applauded Minister Pandor and says that “The decision is in line with meeting the demands of students across institutions of higher learning who have been raising this issue for many years, as historic debt served as the basis for exclusion of students from poor and working-class background”.

We commend the bold decisive action by the Ministry that will see over 52 414 NSFAS funded continuing student complete their studies within projected record time.

“We are confident that this decision will enable access and success since students will be able to continue with their studies and change their lives for the better” added Mtsweni

Issued by: National Youth Development Agency

Source South African Government

Life After School: The Nigerian Perspective

By Edikan Udoibuot

What are your plans after school? Almost every finalist has been asked this question in one way or the other. But unfortunately, only a few have a concrete answer to such questions. The transition from being an undergraduate to becoming a graduate is kinder funny and scary to most students. The thought of being independent, no more frequent pocket money from Daddy and Mummy, Uncles and Aunts, Brothers and Sisters… is something we all have to deal with. It is a period when every decision you make counts and are very vital to your future because everybody now looks up to you.

After spending four, five to six years in school studying one course or the other, the question is what did you gain? What did you achieve? To some, those years were years of reformation, to others, they were years of purpose discovery, while some see the years as wasted years borne out of frustration or disappointments, no thanks to the education system of the country. Particularly in Nigeria and Africa at large, we have poor orientation of career choice, most students choose courses either because of the name or because they were forced by parents to study such courses (living another man’s dream). Also, some study because they want to work in big firms. For instance, back in our secondary school days, the three major courses most recurring among the science student were “medicine, engineering and pharmacy” while those in the commercial and arts are more concerned with “law, mass communication and accountancy”. These are nice courses per se but there are many other great courses to study which students don’t know about or neglect thinking that such courses won’t be of relevance to them.

Back to our question “what next after graduation?” the truth is that many students don’t have plans for life after school because they were either carried away by activities of their studies or didn’t just bother to plan ahead thinking that every plans made initially will fall in place. Most students’ mindset is to graduate, go for NYSC, get a good and safe job and life a happy life, but there is more to life. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a country where the economy is dwindling; there is no job security, and many other challenging things happening in the country. To survive in an economy like Nigeria’s, one has to be independent, not waiting or depending on the government to feed you, it is only one without skill that cries out “no job”. To this effect, some questions pops up, what skills do you have? What’s your passion? What do you have to offer? If you have concrete answers to these questions, then you are good to go.

John F. Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America once said, “ask not of what your country can do for you ask of what you can do for your country”. After graduation it would be time to give out what you’ve learned so far. Think of something to do; be different, be innovative, be creative, be industrious, and be versatile, surely you will be able to sail through the stormy sea outside school.

Perhaps you never had concrete plans while in school, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) should be seen as a blessing in disguise because it should be a period where you can sit down and plan your life for the future within a year. It fully transits you from life as a student to life as a graduate. The government on their part should help matters by making the environment conducive while it is our duty to create opportunities. But if the government is doing nothing about it, that shouldn’t warrant us to sit idle and keep blaming the government.

God created every man in a unique way, lying inside of you are great potentials yet to be unleashed which by discipline, doggedness, and determination you can make a difference. We should bear in mind that the era of civil service is over. Before as a civil servant, you are entitled to a car and house but that is not the case in our own generation. That is why one has to be versatile. If you were not able to learn one or two skills aside your chosen discipline, there is still an opportunity to do so during the one year of NYSC. In our generation three things will push you to the top, they are your talents, your skills and your discipline.

Always remember, your network apparently determines your net-worth. You can study medicine in the university and become a stylist later in life; that doesn’t mean you wasted your time in school. Rather, your being educated exposed you to many things and also changed your way of thinking. Your packaging will be totally different from the normal stylist because you’ll think in a more modified way.

Finally, you were born to win, to dominate and to explore nature. Key into nature and life will be easy for you. Remember education is the key! It is not just about the certificate; there is more to it.

Take a bold step!

Make a wise decision and stand out of the crowd!!

God bless your efforts.

This article was first published at

A Message For Those Feeling Lost In Their 20s

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Society puts a lot of pressure on people in their 20s to “figure out” their lives.

The reality is, most 57-year-olds don’t even have their lives figured out. There’s no reason to put pressure on yourself so early in the process.

Here are a few things to remember as you’re navigating life in your 20s:

1. Take The Biggest Risks Of Your Life.

Going “conservative” in your 20s is something you really, really should debate. Especially if you aren’t in debt.

When you’re this young, the number one thing you should focus on is executing on the most high risk behaviors of your life.

The biggest reason that so many people become unhappy is that they play life in “reverse.” They go for the safe and practical job right out of school, and they buy expensive stuff to impress their parents and friends. Then, it becomes less practical to quit their job because they’re “chained down” with expenses.

Instead, make high risk moves around the thing that will make you the happiest.

This is exactly when you should go live in Bali for a year. This is exactly when you should try and become Beyonce.

This is exactly when you go on the “offense.”

2. Don’t be Afraid to Take a $12 / Hour Job Over a $25k / Year Job.

I’m a big believer in working for cheap (or free) for the person you want to try and become.

Getting “closest to the sun” is where all the leverage is.

Here’s what I mean by that:

If you go and work for someone you admire and do an incredible job, they could “put you on” and change the course of your entire career. For example… if you admire Alex Rodriguez or Chance the Rapper and you had the chance to run their social media for $12 / hour, there’s no question that would be be better than a job that pays $52,000.

Imagine what it would be like to be known as the guy or girl behind A-Rod’s social or Chance the Rapper’s videos.

Be humble, patient, strategic, and stop caring what your living situation looks like to people “on the outside.” You’ll set yourself up for an incredible future.

3. Do it Because You Enjoy the Process Not Because You’re Chasing Results.

When I look for talent, I’m obsessed with finding people who love the process — not the stuff that the game “buys” you.

If you’re focused on the cars, the shoes, and “posturing” to your friends, you’re finished. If you’re building a business or navigating your career based on what’s going to get you the off-whites, private planes, spa treatments, or jewelry, you’re not going to have a long career.

So many people in their 20s are taking jobs that pay a few thousand dollars more just so they can buy more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have empathy for people in debt. But a lot of people are taking these jobs because they’re trying to live up to the expectations of their parents and friends.

I look for people who “can’t breathe” if they’re not doing their art because those are the people who are going to win long term. For me, business is my art. For you, it might be design, performing on stage, or something else.

Whatever it is, be that person who’s obsessed with their craft and would be doing it for “free” no matter what.

4. Don’t Stress About Finding the Answer “What Should I Do With My Life?”

If you don’t know what that “craft” is yet, that’s okay.

It blows me away how much pressure we put on people in their 20s and early 30s to have their entire lives figured out.

Of course you don’t know what you want to do yet — you haven’t even lived yet!

Now’s the time to be massively risk-oriented and try everything you want to try. There’s no “wrong” move you can make. If you genuinely want to spend every minute working like I did, great. If you want to travel to Bali or work in a vineyard in Tasmania, great.

Now is the time to go have different experiences and try different jobs until you find one you like.

5. Stand Up to the People You Love and Have Tough Conversations.

If there’s one piece of advice you take away from this article, it would be this:

Have the conversations you need to have with the people you’re closest to.

Tell them the truth. Tell them how you feel about everything — about what you want to do, where you want to work, your insecurities, how you feel about their expectations, and everything else.

It will absolutely change your life. Even if they get angry and react poorly, their level of respect for you will be enormous.

It saddens me that so many people allow the opinions of their parents and their friends to hold them back in their careers, or worse, push them to make decisions that have terrible long term consequences (like taking on massive debt).

If you don’t have the tough conversation with them now, you’ll resent them in the long term because you lived your life for them and not yourself.

6. Stop Debating. Start Executing.

I implore you to not worry about the current judgement being deployed on you.

One of the biggest reasons I’m happy and can navigate my life so quickly is because I believe in one thing more than anything else:

The truth will play out in the end.

It’s not that I’m right or will be right, it’s that the truth plays out regardless. It’s pointless try to prove those around you wrong with your words.

Stay patient, and do it with your actions.

Wish more people in their 20s understood this message. Share this article on Twitter if you got value from it!

This article was first published on Medium

South Africa Students Explore Benefits Of Nuclear Energy For Africa

FIVE South African students have returned from a trip of a lifetime in Russia where they learned about study opportunities offered to foreigners in the field of nuclear science in the Russian Federation.

North-West University masters’ students Naomi Mokhine, Koketso Kgorinyane and Veronica Gouws and University of Limpopo graduates Harriet Mphaho and Thabo Mametja were selected to tour Russia after successful entries into the “Atoms Empowering Africa” youth video competition sponsored by Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

The five joined 11 students from across Africa for the unique opportunity to learn about educational programs available for foreign students. In addition, the guests visited top Russian universities specializing in nuclear engineering including the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in Obninsk, Central Russia and Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Tomsk, Siberia.

“Everything we did this year was amazing,” said Kgorinyane. “We had an opportunity to visit a nuclear power plant. What we have learnt about plant changed my perception and showed me that it is not a danger to us. Nuclear is a clear benefit for our continent, and if we take part in the nuclear industry we can generate more energy.”

More than 30 students from Sub-Saharan Africa took part in the contest, run in cooperation with African Young Generation in Nuclear, the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers and the SA Network for Nuclear Education Science and Technology. Under the theme “Atoms Empowering Africa”, students had to post a two-minute video about peaceful atoms. The aim was to encourage young people between the ages of 18 to 30 to research various nuclear applications and the benefits they might have for the continent.

Mphaho said the trip did much to open her eyes about the technological advantages nuclear energy could provide Africa. “We learnt a lot about how nuclear can be beneficial in many spheres such as agriculture and medicine, and with the production of the electricity,” she said. “I personally was not aware of the full spectrum of nuclear energy applications.”

MEPhI is the leading Russian university with more than 75 years’ expertise in nuclear engineering. MEPhI is the key partner of Rosatom in the field of training high-qualified nuclear specialists. Today more than 1500 foreign students from 57 countries study there, including over 50 students from sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.

TPU is one of the leading state universities which specializes in the training of specialists in the nuclear field along with training of professors for universities in Rosatom partner countries. In over 60 years, more than 12 000 specialists graduated TPU, including 8 000 trained in nuclear engineering and research. It is the only Russian university equipped with a nuclear research reactor, which is now used for peaceful atom technologies such as nuclear medicine, transmutation neutron alloying, isotope engineering among others.

The African delegation visited the first ever nuclear power plant in the world, which was operational from 1954 till 2002, and which now functions as a memorial complex. It is located in the city of Obninsk, 100 km south-west from Moscow, and includes the first nuclear reactor with the capacity of 5MW as well as the museum of history of the nuclear industry. The delegation also visited Tomsk Atomic Energy Information Center set up in 2008 with the purpose of promoting nuclear science and technologies as well as education. During the cultural aspect of the program guests were acquainted with the history of Russia including its gastronomical traditions.

“The trip to Russia was very good. I loved the people, I loved the food, I loved atmosphere, even the weather,” said Gouws. “The time I enjoyed the most was when we were learning about Russian chess and of course I’ve learnt a lot about atomic energy.”

Full scholarships are available for students interested in studying nuclear energy in Russia and include tuition fees; free preparatory courses of Russian language (if necessary); monthly stipend; accommodation; library access and practical experience based at Rosatom enterprises. For more information visit and register on and fill in an application form. The deadline for the first round of applications closes on 15 February 2019.

This article was first published on
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African governments should make long-term investments in children, youth

The rapidly increasing of children and youth population in Africa poses a great challenge, which could otherwise be an opportunity if well harnessed, a new report revealed.

The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2018: Progress in the Child-Friendliness of African Governments, which was published in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Friday, warned that Africa could be home to a billion angry, under-fed, under-educated and under-employed children and young people by 2050.

The report also urges African governments to commit themselves to massive long-term investment in nutrition, health and education of their children and young people so as to avert the danger.

Noting the challenges rising from the population boom in the continent, the report indicates that Africa is sitting “on a demographic time bomb.”

“Without massive long-term investment in nutrition, healthcare, education and employment, the growing child and youth population could become a huge burden, exacerbating poverty, inequality, unemployment and instability and creating a serious human development crisis,” it showed.

Assefa Bequele, Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which compiled the report, said that Africa can choose to reap the demographic dividend, nurture its human capital and accelerate sustainable and equitable development.

“Children have the potential to transform Africa – but if neglected, they will exacerbate the burden of poverty and inequality, whilst posing a serious threat to peace, security and prosperity,” Bequele said.

According to ACPF, close to half of all deaths in under-fives in Africa are associated with under-nutrition, while African children may attend school in large numbers, but they are not learning. Two in every five children leave primary school without learning how to read, write or do simple arithmetic.

The report was compiled based on the Child-Friendliness Index (CFI), which ranks 52 African nations on progress towards realizing the rights and wellbeing of children.

The CFI rates countries including Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt and Namibia as the most child-friendly African countries.

While South Sudan, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia and Eritrea were among the least child-friendly countries.

The ranking was made based on a range of indicators including nutrition, education, budgets and social protection, it was indicated.

Source: Xinhua

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Entrepreneur encourages youths to go into shoe making business

A 42-year-old entrepreneur, Adamu Usman on Thursday advised youths to stop waiting for white collar job and join the shoemaking industry so as to be self-reliant.

Usman who is the CEO of Yasko Footwear Technology, Kaduna, said that he had received a training on shoemaking by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in 2012 before embarking on the business.

“Shoemaking is a profitable business, I developed the passion to produce footwear after finishing secondary school.

“This made me undergo a six months training on shoemaking at the NDE and I was given a start-up loan of shoe making machines and equipment after the training, “he said.

The entrepreneur said that he had been in the business for five years now and had trained more than 100 people on the business with five employees working under him.

He added that his company makes different kind of shoes which are being patronized by military, paramilitary, schools, shoe dealers, boutiques, companies and individuals.

Usman said he started the business in a shop but now run the business from a four-bedroom flat and also won the 2018 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) award in leather works.

The award winner urged Nigerians to patronize made in Nigeria shoes because according to him they more qualitative than the foreign ones.

Source: PM NEWS

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Education: Rwanda’s Smart Classroom Project Close to Becoming a Reality

By James Karuhanga

Under the project, government plans to distribute 100 computers in each school. There’s optimism from government that by 2020 all public schools will be equipped with smart class rooms.

The Ministry of Education has challenged secondary schools to fast-track a new model of smart classroom in a fresh bid to raise the quality of education.

The initiative, which seeks to equip schools with computers and access to internet, is premised on the belief that ICT is a tool which will transform the country’s education system through the digitalisation of academic material which will subsequently increase access.

The Minister for Education, Eugène Mutimura, recently said in a tweet that government had identified 166 schools to potentially take the lead in the implementation of the smart classroom project.

Irénée Ndayambaje, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board (REB), said that: “All those schools (that have been identified) have the requisite capacity and infrastructure to do it and are able to be role models to other schools”.

The Government has been encouraging schools to identify secure rooms where they can install computers and other ICT related infrastructure

Under the project, government plans to distribute 100 computers in each school. It targets 1,500 schools.

Ndayambaje told The New Times on Friday last week that ICT in education is not simply about students getting computer lessons but rather using the computers to expand their knowledge in the subjects they study.

So far, he said, 692 schools have smart classrooms.

“We are targeting 1,500 secondary schools. The remaining schools are yet to get either access to electricity and or do not have free rooms that can serve the purpose. We require two free rooms, with electricity, each with 50 chairs and quality desks or tables. And metal windows and doors to guarantee maximum security.”

Infrastructure, he said, is key to the success of the project.

“Not all schools in the country have electricity. Secondly, not all schools have enough rooms yet we need extra rooms for computers. Not until all these issues are solved shall we know when we can have it all set,” Ndayambaje said.

There’s optimism from government that by 2020 all public schools will be equipped with smart class rooms.

Edouard Uhagaze, the teacher in charge of studies at Lycée Notre-Dame de Cîteaux in Kigali, said the school launched a pilot phase last term.

“We are still undergoing a trial phase. The system for the programme has just been installed and teachers are being trained by a company sent by the Ministry of Education on how to use it,” he said, adding that; “By and large, it would be too early to talk about the gains right now but for sure the idea behind this project is very good because this is all about helping students learn easier using information technology”.

His school, he said, had already been using computers in its teaching processes and the new project is likely to add value.

Courses, which are interactive and multi-media based, will enable students to learn on their own and facilitate the teachers to prepare lessons.

The Government has already distributed POSITIVO Laptops – which have Microsoft Word and Windows, and teachers and students can surf the internet and research as well as access different content that comes with the laptops – to more than 500 schools across the country in addition to more than 250,000 XO Laptops to more than 1,500 primary schools.

The aim of smart classrooms is to incorporate ICT into various aspects of the country’s education system and bring a fundamental change in teaching and learning systems.

Smart classrooms are being equipped with computers connected to the internet with a screen projector, among others.

The aim is to bring about positive change both for teachers and learners as the latter get a wide range of resources while the former also teach using a wide range of resources other than using a single book.

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