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29 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Pexels
Prof Melanie Walker
Fostering human capabilities in universities may potentially transform education, says Prof Melanie Walker.

Education is at the centre of human life, and has the potential to be a crucial support for democratic life. Prof Melanie Walker’s recent research paper strikes a balance in dealing with people, education and the implications for democracy through the lens of human capabilities theory and practice and her own research.

People and papers

In her capacity as the SARChI Chair in the Higher Education and Human Development Research Programme at the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Walker recently published a paper titled: Defending the Need for a Foundational Epistemic Capability in Education. It appeared in the special issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities in honour of renowned Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s 85th birthday.

Nurturing epistemic justice

Within the context of existing literature such as that of Sen’s concern with the value of education on the one hand, and public reasoning on the other, Prof Walker argues for a foundational epistemic capability to shape the formal education landscape – as well as quality in education – by fostering inclusive public reasoning (including critical thinking) in all students. It would contribute to what Sen calls the ‘protective power of democracy’ and shared democratic rights, which, he argues, are strongly missed when most needed.

“Sen’s approach asks us to build democratic practices in our university and in our society in ways which create capabilities for everyone. If our students learn public reasoning in all sorts of spaces in university, including the pedagogical, they may carry this into and back to society,” she said.

Educating for equality

Empowering society and fighting for justice are some of the crucial contributions made possible through fostering the epistemic capability of all students. “The capability requires that each student is recognised as both a knower and teller, a receiver and a contributor in critical meaning and knowledge, and an epistemic agent in processes of learning and critical thinking,” states Prof Walker.

In a young democracy like South Africa’s, inclusive public reasoning becomes all the more essential in order to achieve equality, uphold rights and sustain democracy as enshrined in the constitution, thereby improving people’s lives. 

News Archive

Shimlas had the right attitude, says Scholtz
2016-02-10

 Description: Shimlas first match 2016  Tags: Shimlas

The lively Shimla flanker Daniel Maartens, who was the leading try scorer in the 2015 Varsity Cup, made a good impact as substitute against Ikeys in Cape Town.
Photo: Johan Roux

His rugby team had the right attitude to win in difficult conditions in Cape Town.

This is what Hendro Scholtz, Head Coach of Shimlas, had to say after the University of the Free State (UFS) started its Varsity Cup campaign on 8 February 2016 with a victory of 23-17 over Ikeys.

According to him, the UFS had to sweat hard until the end on a windy Green Mile, which has been the downfall of many opponents before. His substitutes also had a great impact.

Troublesome Cape wind

Shimlas have a tough draw this year, and to start in the Mother City was a huge task. Scholtz and his men have only three home matches and will play against most of the major teams in away matches.

“We knew it would be difficult in Cape Town. With the wind blowing as it does, one can't play as you would like to during the rest of the season,” the coach said.

“The guys had a will to win.”

The former Springbok believes that too much cannot be read from the first round results. The Shimlas will play their second match on 15 February 2016 against Tuks in Pretoria.

Replacements with good impact

Only the prop Rudolph Botha, flanker Fiffy Rampeta, and prop Teunis Nieuwoudt, who started against Ikeys, were involved in the 2015 final against Pukke.

Other big Shimla names, such as the prop Ox Nche, hooker Elandré Huggett, prop Conraad van Vuuren, and flanker Daniel Maartens, were sent onto the field in Cape Town after half-time.

“We had a plan with the replacements for the second half. They made a huge difference,” Scholtz said.

Rampeta was named Man of the Match, but it was Maartens and Co who turned the game in their team's favour in the second half.

Matsoele could be out of action for long

The Shimla fullback, Sechaba Matsoele, had to leave the game against Ikeys early because of a knee injury, and could be out of action for some time.

His scrumhalf, Zee Mkhabela, was also injured (by a blow to the head), so Shimlas will have to keep their fingers crossed for his quick recovery.

Scorers:
Shimlas 23 (7): Tries: Arthur Williams, Nardus Erasmus, Mosolwa Mafuma. Conversions: Stephan Janse van Rensburg (2).
Ikeys 17 (0): Tries: Khanyo Ngcukana, Nathan Nel. Conversion: Hilio de Abreu. Penalty: De Abreu.
Other results (home team first): Tuks 15, Pukke 38; UJ 19, Madibaz 12; Maties 40, CUT 0.

 

 

 

 


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