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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

Faculty of Education discusses new curricula at summit
2012-03-07

 

Die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde se nuut-aangepaste B.Ed.-programme word binnekort by die Nasionale Departement van Hoër Onderwys en Opleiding ingedien vir herakkreditasie. Proff. Rita Niemann (links), Direkteur vir Nagraadse Studie en Navorsing, en Gawie du Toit, Direkteur vir Aanvanklike Onderwysersopvoeding, is aan die stuur van die herkurrikuleringsproses vir voorgraadse en nagraadse programme van die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde.
6 March 2012

The training of professional teachers rests on a strong curriculum. For this reason, the Faculty of Education has been re-looking at the curricula of the B.Ed. programme for the past two years.

Before this programme is submitted for approval and accreditation, the Education Faculty’s staff from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses will attend a summit at the Gariep Dam on 7 and 8 March 2012. This summit is a sequel to guidelines drawn up by the National Department of Higher Education and Training on adjusted requirements for teacher training. It determines that all initial teacher training and honours programmes be recurriculated and resubmitted for accreditation. These requirements were published in the Government Gazette in July 2011 and involve all education faculties in the country.
 
Deans and line heads of other faculties, including Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Humanities, and Economic and Management Sciences, have also become involved as Education students often register for modules in these faculties.
 
Last week a team from the UFS’s Education Faculty also attended a workshop presented by the Council on Higher Education where the criteria for recurriculation and the evaluation of programmes were discussed.
 
Prof. Gawie du Toit of the UFS’s Faculty of Education says curriculation is not merely a technical process but requires thorough reflection and conceptualisation, involving various roleplayers.
“It is important that recurriculation should take place over a period of time to allow for sufficient time for reflection, absorption and ownership.”
 
Thus, the aim of the Gariep Dam summit is to introduce a teachers’ training program that will provide graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and responsibilities to take up their places as academics and professional beginner teachers.
 
During these two days students in Education will not attend any classes but they are tasked with self study and to complete assignments.

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