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04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

Academic produces another book
2009-12-01

 Academic, author and motivational speaker, Dr Michael van Wyk (pictured), has written another book titled Cooperative learning as a teaching strategy for the classroom: A practical guide for economics teachers.
His latest offering provides a sound theoretical framework and practical ways on how to implement the different cooperative learning techniques. It unpacks the practical aspects of the outcomes-based approach, the National Curriculum Statement for the Further Education and Training phase and cooperative learning techniques for the economics classroom.
This easy-to-read book offers a thorough introductory text for economics teachers and economics students, as well as lecturers and researchers.
“This theoretical and practical guide will support Economics teachers to present their subject in practical ways that are meaningful and learner centred,” he said.
“If this can be achieved, learners will engage effectively in the subject and an interest in the learning content may be evoked.”
The book covers the following aspects:
  • It introduces the foundations of the outcomes-based education approach (OBE) and the new curriculum model for South African schools.
  • It examines the theoretical underpinnings and practical application of cooperative learning as a teaching strategy.
  • It provides practical guidelines for application of cooperative learning techniques.
 
“This book gives an outline, in a constructive way, on how to apply the cooperative learning techniques such as Teams Games Tournaments (TGT), Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD), role-play, simulations, Economics quizzes, small group teaching and research projects in the classroom,” he said.
 
“These techniques have the potential to make a positive contribution to the enhancement of academic performances, development of social skills and an improvement of the learning skills of the learners.”
 
The book is designed as a theoretical and practical guide for Economics Education students, Economics teachers, Learning Area Economics and Management Science facilitators, Curriculum developers, Economics subject advisors, researchers and trainers; for the successful implementation of cooperative learning as a teaching strategy.
 
Dr Van Wyk is a staff member of the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS). He also serves on the board of the South African Foundation on Economics and Financial Education (SAFEFE).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

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