Peace clubs for safer schools

first_imgStudents working together at a peace camp. (Image: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternWhile a large number of South African schools are exemplary centres of learning, it’s a sad fact that far too many are underfunded and overcrowded places where little learning takes place, and levels of violence are far too high.For this reason, the Quaker Peace Centre (QPC) and Western Cape Education Department (WCED) have launched a number of initiatives to promote peace in the province’s schools.One of these is the Safer Schools Project, launched in early to help increase security at schools, restrict the access of people who are neither students nor staff to school premises, and facilitate conflict resolution training.But, that doesn’t solve the root of the problem, says Avril Knott-Craig of QPC.“You’ve got 62 children in a classroom, it’s 32º outside (and probably hotter inside), they’re bored, and their hormones are running rampant,” she says. “It’s a recipe for disaster.“When you’re bored, you make little spit-balls out of paper and shoot them at the teacher. You take the chewing gum out of your mouth and stick it in your neighbour’s hair, and they retaliate, and before you know it, it’s a free-for all and someone gets hurt.”In July 2008, 126 people, including teachers and students from 17 schools and representatives from the WCED, the QPC and the Safer Schools Project attended a two-day Peace Indaba in Cape Town in July 2008.The event, which was run as part of QPC’s Positive Discipline Project, was intended to workshop ideas on how to make schools in Cape Town safer and more conducive to learning – both of academic subjects and positive life skills.A large part of the problem, says to Knott-Craig, is that violence is an integral part of school culture.“While corporal punishment is technically illegal, teachers grew up in an environment where it was considered normal, and they have no other way of disciplining overcrowded and unruly classes.”Martin Struthmann, the manager of QPC, agrees. He describes the culture of violence he experienced as a teacher in a Mitchell’s Plain school in the 1980s.“The teachers spent the first few days of term making canes. Before the children arrived, they’d buy hosepipes, bamboo, sticky tape and stuff from the hardware store and make canes. It was part of the school culture.”One of the many educational reforms introduced by South Africa’s new democratic government after 1994 was outlawing corporal punishment.“Hitting children is against the law in terms of the Children’s Act, and the South African Schools Act,” Knott-Craig says.“Teachers can be dismissed for using corporal punishment. The National Education Department says they are going to implement it but they don’t. They can’t. The cane is the only way some teachers can discipline classes. Corporal punishment was outlawed and then nothing was put in its place.”And that’s what QPC’s Positive Discipline Programme is all about. Knott-Craig joined QPC when the Peace Education Programme wanted someone to write a manual on positive discipline for teachers. Shortly thereafter, the programme focus changed to concentrate mainly on positive discipline.“I’ve always been against corporal punishment,” Knott-Craig says. “I was never punished in this way as a child.  I taught in difficult schools in the eighties during the boycotts and all that. And I never used corporal punishment. It’s not necessary.  I’m not special, and if I can do it anyone can.”While not wanting to trivialise the problems inherent in many schools, Knott-Craig wanted to showcase the schools that were not dysfunctional.“The media was highlighting dysfunctional schools,” she says. “But the good schools needed to be acknowledged. There were lots of schools in the Graslow [Grassy Park and Lotus River] area doing great development work. There were many schools that could showcase good practice. Other schools could learn from them. Schools could share what was working.”Knott-Craig and an ex-colleague, Greg Vlotman, who is now the principal of Sid G Rule Primary School in Grassy Park, were the motivating force behind the idea. They received eager assistance from Glen van Harte, the District South curriculum manager of WCED.“His big thing was arts education,” Knott-Craig says of Van Harte. “He believed that arts education would reduce the violence in schools.”The key to discipline, she says, is curriculum design and delivery.“Where there is interesting work being done and [the students] are stimulated and challenged, there is no time to find mischief. If you can engage the learner you have a much greater chance of success.“So we need to look at the bigger picture. Curriculum, management, ethos, culture of the school – all these issues. It’s what schools decide they will or will not tolerate. “All the schools that were sharing the good practice didn’t have serious discipline problems,” she continues.“They had disbanded their discipline committees. The teachers were doing really creative peace education in the classroom. One teacher had built a Zen garden and, when the learners got angry, she’d tell them to go play in the Zen garden and think about why they’re angry, and calm down.”It’s certainly a new take on standing in the corner, and it’s probably more effective in the long run than a good clip on the ear.The next step in the initiative was peace camps for students, the brainchild of Geraldine Goldblatt, Central District curriculum adviser for the WCED.“Goldblatt said she wanted to run a non-violent camp for learners,” Knott-Craig says. “She’s done a huge amount of research into curriculum material that deals with the history of violence, and how we can use it to teach children about non-violence.Goldblatt was given the go-ahead by Mackie Kleinschmidt, the Central District curriculum manager, with the WCED funding the camps and the QPC providing free facilitation.The camp was held in Glencairn, with 60 students and 30 teachers from 11 schools attending. And it was not limited to so-called “problem” or “township” schools. Rhodes High School in Mowbray and Westerford, one of Cape Town’s top academic schools, also attended.Knott-Craig admits she had a secret agenda – she was hoping the camp would spread the idea of peace clubs.She had previously met Stan Jarvis, a teacher at Heideveld High School, which was situated deep in the Cape Flats. Jarvis had attended Knott-Craig’s positive discipline course, and had started a peace club at Heideveld.In May 2008, when xenophobic attacks rocked Cape Town’s townships, Heideveld High’s peace club members asked Jarvis to organise a workshop on xenophobia to understand the violence. So Knott-Craig, Struthmann and Caroline Rakodi, from the UK, joined Jarvis for a one-day workshop with the theme What makes us African?The answer that came out was, “The thing that makes us all African is the fact that we are all different.”“It’s our diversity that makes us all one,” says Knott-Craig, smiling.She didn’t have to do much work on her secret agenda. The students who attended the camp chatted to the Heideveld High peace club members, and decided they wanted peace clubs at their schools, too. So they started planning them then and there.“They have so much fun,” she says. “They do interesting things. They were attending the peace jams and meeting Nobel laureates.” Peace jams are events organised by Nobel peace laureates who travel the world for a year engaging young people on matters of peace building.“The teachers are so motivated. They involve them in so many things outside the curriculum. Through the British Council, they got linked up with Rivers of the World [an arts programme organised around rivers]. They select eight rivers, and one was the Liesbeek. Some of the peace club members went to London.”Soon after that the second indaba was held at Heideveld High, with many of the same players.One area in which Knott-Craig came up against some resistance in the planning phase of the camp and the indaba was the idea that teachers and students would participate on an equal footing. But she pushed for it.“I think they have something to offer and must be seen as part of the solution not the problem,” she says.“[The teachers] could not believe the profundity of what the learners had to say. They had good ideas – they challenged Glen [van Harte] and he took them seriously. It was right to have learners involved. Adults tend to speak for young people instead of letting them speak for themselves.  And,” she adds, smiling, “teachers are the worst.”While the Non-Violent Schools Campaign is a joint  project jointly of QPC and WCED, it is intended to be self-sustaining.“The peace clubs need to be sustained by the teachers and learners,” Knott-Craig says. “We will run programmes, for example, training in diversity, Alternatives to Violence Programmes and/or empowering workshops for young women. But they are their clubs. They have ownership of their clubs. QPC is just the engine that runs it in the background.“My dream actually is that eventually the camp, the indaba, the peace clubs are all run by the schools and we all become redundant. Once that’s happened I’ll feel that we’ve achieved something.“But ultimately, if change is going to come it’s going to come from the bottom up not the top down,” she says.  “I haven’t found the quick fix, but I am handing over to the learners. I believe in their idealism, and their ability to think outside of the box.”With a laugh she adds, “They haven’t even found the box.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesEducation in South Africa Tutu, De Klerk to children’s aid Education is the winner Learning through gaminglast_img read more

U.S., Canadian and Mexican farm groups support modernized NAFTA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) today sent a joint letter to Canadian, United States and Mexican government officials reiterating their calls that NAFTA re-negotiations should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.The AFBF, CFA, and CNA agree that agriculture represents one of NAFTA’s biggest success stories. Agricultural reciprocal trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago.CFA President Ron Bonnett, strong in his support of the agreement, says that “NAFTA has boosted the incomes of millions of farmers and has facilitated the development of profitable export markets.”In their discussions, the three Presidents agreed on the need to build on the original agreement’s success by looking for ways to increase trade volumes.“When it comes to overall positive results for North America’s farmers and ranchers, NAFTA has proved itself as a solid foundation for trade. Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fiber production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.CNA President Bosco de la Vega, reflecting on the economic benefits of trade, said it is very clear, “The NAFTA agreement has had a positive impact for the agricultural sector, including the exponential increase in trade flows between its partners; currently NAFTA markets are characterized by high level of complementarity, the possibility to face the challenge of food security in a better way, an open trade system with clear and fair rules. Taking these into account, we believe that today the NAFTA members have a big opportunity to even increase this positive outcome.”All parties further commit to meeting with their governments to insist that NAFTA re-negotiations should be built on the principle of “doing no harm.”NAFTA discussions should seek:• Increased and improved regulatory alignment.• Improved flow of goods at border crossings.• Further alignment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures using a science-based approach.• Elimination of non-science based technical barriers to trade.• Revisions that reflect technological advances since implementation such as digital trade, etc.Agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years. Farmers have increased productivity and improved their competitiveness to address the rapidly growing demand worldwide for healthy and sustainable food products. Losses due to NAFTA changes would severely stunt this progress.AFBF, CFA and CNA are committed to working with their respective administrations to ensure that a modernized NAFTA continues to be a success story for all farmers.last_img read more

How Tech Is Shaking Up the Modern-Day Ad Agency

first_imgAs WPP looks for a replacement for Sorrell, the company is exploring what assets it can divest in order to make way for investments that will keep it competitive. The next WPP leader will not only need to be well-versed in evaluating these investments, but he or she will need to be willing to take up Sorrell’s sword when it comes to tech behemoths. Sorrell was fond of criticizing tech frenemies as he tried to beat them at their game. With WPP seeking a new chief executive, the company is struggling to hold the business together. At the same time, it’s not giving up the ghost — nor should it. Congress’s public tongue-lashing of Mark Zuckerberg shows that even the mighty can tumble. Tags:#ad#advertising By acquiring Acxiom as part of a multibillion-dollar deal that’s expected to close by the end of the year, Interpublic showed its true colors. If the Acxiom acquisition comes to pass, Interpublic will have tremendous access to a wealth of target persona data and information. The agency won’t just be able to shout out messages, it will be able to precisely send them to people when and where they’re most receptive. This move shows the growing importance of data to the ad giant. Omnicom is apparently on the hunt for new partners, according to its CFO Phil Angelastro. After getting rid of Novus and Sellbytel, the agency is in a good financial position to make acquisitions. In fact, revenue for Omnicom climbed 1.8 percent during the second quarter of 2018. By divesting its underperforming services, the company is ready to undertake a massive transformation that includes upping its tech and data game. Publicis has focused on digital investments for several years, but its “Power of One” restructuring has placed it firmly ahead of the pack in terms of digital transformation. By centralizing its internal capabilities, the emerging Publicis looks to be efficient, productive, and disruptive. In addition, the company’s relationship with Sapient enables Publicis to more powerfully work with C-suite executives to help its clients better face digital challenges.As the saying goes, “Better late than never.” For ad agencies confronted by the need for digital transformation, “never” isn’t an option. Those that want to get in the game need to start playing soon. Otherwise, they’ll likely be blindsided when the rules change again. How do you get noticed when your audience is more mobile, digital, and finicky than ever? That’s what the major players in the ad industry are trying to figure out.Not only are brands moving their media operations in-house, but many companies are embracing IT consulting firms in lieu of paying ad agencies. Why? It seems that old-fashioned advertising just doesn’t cut it anymore. The arrival of ad blocking and the decline of TV ratings have led brands to turn away from digital spots and TV ads, both of which have been the bread and butter of ad agencies.Consequently, the big four ad agencies are seriously shaking up their protocols.Out With the Old, In With the TechThis shakeup escalated after Martin Sorrell, the top dog at WPP, one of the world’s four biggest advertising holding companies, resigned in April amidst an investigation into personal misconduct. Sorrell was the brains behind the industry’s modern practice of acquiring smaller competitors, and he built WPP into the giant it is today.But make no mistake: The loss of WPP’s head doesn’t mean smoother sailing for the three other biggies — Interpublic, Omnicom, and Publicis. Instead, it opens up more possibilities for industry shifts. And the big players are in a raft on choppy waters, watching as Google and Facebook gobbled up market share, followed by Amazon and digital consulting firms like Accenture.Consulting firms with digital know-how are becoming increasingly serious competition for ad agencies as the firms woo clients with their ability to reach consumers more effectively and cheaply thanks to data and machine learning. The only way for major ad agencies to compete at this point is to acquire digital knowledge through creation and acquisition, according to Alberto Cabezas-Castellanos, founder and CEO of Gauss & Neumann, a research laboratory with a team of Ph.D.s that work on SEM/PPC architecture and technologies.“I believe that the group that will end up winning in the long run is the one able to create a native digital culture through internal research labs that spread knowledge across every internal office,” Cabezas-Castellanos explains. “Big groups should stop using borrowed management technologies and become hybrid software companies that create code.”Some of the ad world’s biggest players are coming around to that very idea at seemingly just the right moment. Facebook recently lost advertising shares for the first time, meaning ad agencies willing to boldly advance can make strides. Ivan Pollard, former senior VP-strategic marketing at The Coca-Cola Co., sees this move as an important step forward — while noting that consultants and ad agencies both have something to learn from each other.“The big consultancies are underestimating the value of creativity [and] the agencies are under- exploiting the value of business analytics,” he told AdAge. “Someone’s going to crack that soon because data plus creativity is the future.”Daring Data and Tech Moves in the Advertising WorldWe’ve already seen some exciting changes coming from advertising agencies, and there’s no doubt we’ll see some more. Their common theme? Tech and data. Here’s how that theme is showing up in moves the four big players are making: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Publicis: Transforming Its Relationship With Digital AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them WPP: Down to Diversify Its Portfolio Frank Landman Related Posts AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Interpublic: Courting Acxiom for Its Consumer Data Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. Omnicom: Swiping Right on Tech and Data Acquisitionslast_img read more

San Diego City Council passes styrofoam and other polystyrene product ban 63

first_imgSan Diego City Council passes styrofoam and other polystyrene product ban 6-3 FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom, Updated: 2:37 PM KUSI Newsroom SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday in favor of a controversial ban on the use of polystyrene foam within the city limits.The ordinance, authored by City Councilman Chris Ward, bans the use and distribution within city limits of products like egg cartons, food containers, coolers, ice chests, pool or beach toys, mooring buoys and navigation markers made fully or partially of polystyrene foam, otherwise known by the commercial Dow Chemical Co. designation, Styrofoam.“By passing this measure, the council supermajority has assured San Diego’s role as a national leader in pursuit of a safe, sustainable future and has made San Diego the largest city in California to ban Styrofoam,” Ward said. “The negative impacts of Styrofoam are permanent and threaten the health of San Diegans, wildlife, and industries critical to our region. The time has come for us to listen to community groups, nonprofits and businesses that have been advocating for this change for years and move away from Styrofoam and plastics in San Diego.”Small restaurant operators primarily opposed the ban, arguing that they cannot absorb the added cost of renewable alternatives like compostable paper. The San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association said that small restaurants and food-service businesses could be forced to pay up to 145 percent more for products other than polystyrene.The ban’s proponents, such as environmental organizations like the 5 Gyres Institute and the Surfrider Foundation, argue that polystyrene’s environmental strain is not worth the convenience. Polystyrene products take hundreds of years to degrade and eventually break down into small particles called microplastics. Marine and terrestrial fauna often mistake polystyrene for food, as well.“We’ve found (polystyrene) alternatives to be comparable in quality and price, and in some cases, our costs have actually gone down,” said Mikey Knab, a board member of Business for Good San Diego and director of operations of Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant. “This ban levels the playing field for restaurants of all sizes, eliminating the opportunity for anyone to pass on the external cost of using Styrofoam that ends up in our oceans as micro-plastics to marine life and to future generations.”New council members Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Jen Campbell voted on the ban for the first time. During the 2018 mid-term campaign, all three said they support taking action against climate change. However, Montgomery and Moreno suggested the city needs to perform more outreach to restaurant owners who will face the brunt of the cost.The ban will take effect in 30 days. Restaurants with a gross annual income of fewer than $500,000 can also apply for a waiver of no more than two years. Posted: January 8, 2019 January 8, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics last_img read more

Apples iPad Vs Lenovos IdeaPad U1Hybrid Notebook w Video

first_img Citation: Apple’s iPad Vs Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1Hybrid Notebook (w/ Video) (2010, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The iPad has no multitasking capabilities which can be counter-productive; how can you copy and paste between two application? This is a basic requirement that is even available in some smartphones.No Flash support. Many websites use flash for video streaming as well as movie content providers like Hulu, Fancast, and others. The screen ratio is 4:3 and is not HD ready. The screen itself displays 132 ppi as compared to the iPhone’s 163 ppi. This leaves much to be desired when viewing streaming video.The good news is the iPad has optional keyboard dock, camera connection kit and an Apple-designed case; all of which will raise the basic cost.In the 2010 CES, Lenovo announced their IdeaPad U1Hybrid Notebook. This device has unique detach-and-converge design that lets users easily remove the screen to instantly switch from clamshell mode to a multi-touch slate tablet. Lenovo’s amazing Tablet/PC Hybrid brings a tablet and a PC together in an amazingly elegant way. It’s a tablet. It’s a notebook computer. In the clamshell mode the ideaPad runs Windows 7 Home Edition and when detached, in the tablet mode, runs Skylight OS. Skylight OS is a custom user interface by Lenovo built on top of the Linux kernel. Since both OS’s support Adobe Flash there’s no problems watching flash multimedia in clamshell or tablet mode.Both operating systems also provide users with a wide range of existing applications that are not found in the iPad except for existing iPhone apps.Of course these are not the only two touch tablets that we will see in 2010. This year we can see completion heating up between eReaders and touch tablets. The winner will have to be a device that is both innovative and affordable. Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1Hybrid Notebook This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Glance: How Apple’s iPad measures upcenter_img More information: Lenovo IdeaPad news release: … .cfm?article_id=1301 Explore further © 2010 ( — Apple’s announcement on their new iPad left some disappointed in its capabilities and lack of. The iPad is sleek and thin at .53 inches and weighs only 1.4 pounds. According to Apple the iPad will run iPhone apps without any modification. There are however some features that will have consumers thinking twice before considering to buy the iPad.last_img read more