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Education, Training and Capacity-building

The Education, Training and Capacity-building component for research and society management

A joint (SA & Fr) post-graduate Master’s Program

The main activity of ICEMASA and ACCESS is the training of Master’s level students. The goal being to prepare them on a broad panel of competencies giving quantitative skills (mathematics, physics, earth sciences, chemistry, computer science, etc). The exceptional students will continue to a PhD.

The plan to manage a large number of students will require several post-doctoral fellows because the youth learn mostly from the youth. The post-doctoral fellows themselves will need mentoring, from a few senior scientists. The structure is therefore that of a pyramid: a few senior scientists who define and direct renewable, long-term (several years) research projects; a larger number of post-docs who report to the senior scientists, and who mentor an even larger number of masters students. 

To achieve this, linking UCT & ACCESS educational program to the School of Ocean Science of the Brest University (UBO) has been an important objective completed by the ICEMASA.

UBO welcomes the initiative and encourages ICEMASA to pursue its efforts to promote the development of the educational project. UBO is willing to give its support and is ready to engage discussions with the South African partners to clarify the administrative and educational aspects. Two alternative ways have already been identified to develop a common post-graduate Master degree: (i) a co-award diploma with courses and modules being recognized jointly by the UBO and a South African University linked with ACCESS (that also means that the courses and exams are roughly identical), or (ii) a delocalized diploma with the a French teaching team spending several weeks/months in SA (typically from 1 to 3) in order to have a large and continues exchanges with students. The content and the administrative setting of such a master program require to be discussed in details.

According to the wishes of both parts (UBO and UCT), we have started thinking of a common framework for the training of marine science students in our universities.

A first step, more flexible and considered as a start. has been to build a common structure for education, a kind of “label”. The “label” would be mentioned on the student’s diploma, if the latter succeeds in completing the criteria that have been defined jointly between UCT and UBO (Signature of the Co-badged Masters and PhD degrees between the UCT and the UBO).

Public Outreach

To be effective, education has to involve everyone, not only those in schools and universities. In the case of science education, studies should preferably concern phenomena we encounter in our daily lives so that what is learnt in class rooms is not divorced from what is experienced outside the classroom. The earth sciences meet all these conditions, and are an especially effective vehicle for education now that concern about global warming has intensified our desires to protect and take care of their unique home: planet Earth.

Conferences and Workshops

Up to now the wealthy countries have dominated discussions of global warming. One of the goals of ACCESS is to give Africa its own voice and perspective on this issue. To that end ACCESS and ICEMASA will organize annual meetings to be held in South Africa as well as International events and winter schools. Moreover a 1-day forum must be organized (every two years) to present to, and discuss with business and government leaders from different countries in Africa recent developments as regards global warming.

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