Student news wrap 06/06/18

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A round up of news from Africa…

Wits University uses lasers to deliver high-speed Internet connections

A team of researchers at Wits University have developed a way of carrying internet data at speeds far greater than conventional Wi-Fi. Called a free-space optical (FSO) solution for internet connectivity, the technology functions like a laser, transmitting a focused beam of light to a receiver through the air.

“Our FSO solution is based on optical frequencies, which are many orders of magnitude faster than radio. So this means faster speeds,” team leader Andrew Forbes from the Wits School of Physics told My Broadband in a recent interview. The technology is able to transmit data at a dizzying speed of up to 10 GB per second, but it is limited in that it requires direct line of site to work properly. – For more details on this exciting development, you can read the full interview on the My Broadband site.

World Bank loan to benefit 30,000 Tanzanian students

A loan of $120 million (R1.5 billion) will be used for a five-year Education and Skills for Productive Jobs (ESPJ) project aimed to strengthen the institutional capacity of Tanzania’s skills development system. The World Bank loan will also be used to establish a competitive, results-based Skills Development Fund (SDF) open to skills training proposals from public and private providers, to help address critical skills gaps in key sectors. Only accredited higher education, technical education, vocational education, and registered employer-based training organisations will be eligible to apply for funds. The 30,000 targeted beneficiaries of the programme will include trainees enrolled in university, technical, vocational and alternative training programmes in the six key sectors.

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation executive director Godfrey Simbeye applauded the government’s move to invest in training youth to meet investors’ needs. “We had missed this component for a long time and our people had failed to secure jobs,” he said. Studies show that about a million youth enter the labour market in Tanzania each year. – Read the full article on the University World News site.

Moroccan government denies ‘silence’ over deadly campus clashes

The Moroccan government has denied that it had been ‘silent’ over the recent deaths of students in university-based clashes as concern mounts over rising political tensions between students.

The violence stems from disputes of the Western Sahara.  Morocco lays claim to the Western Sahara region, but there has been ongoing conflict since 1970 with the Polisario Front seeking independence. Currently the Polisario Front controls about a quarter of Western Sahara. This tension has resulted in the highly charged environment in which these student deaths have taken place.

The most recent violent incident erupted between the Saharawi students group, which supports Western Sahara national liberation movement the Polisario Front, and Amazigh students cultural movement at Ibn Zuhr University, leading to injuries and the death of a Saharawi student. Photos of the student clashes went viral on social media. He was the fourth student killed in university violence after two students were killed in campus clashes earlier in 2016 in Marrakesh.

Khalid Al Samadi, a senior Moroccan education department official, denied there was “silence” over the student deaths. “There is a clear strategy for the ministry for dealing with it,” he said, adding that the goal was to “remove the causes of congestion in universities, facilitate access to social services, and support communication with students.”

He announced that his ministry was “continuing to implement the joint memorandum with the Ministry of Interior to contain university violence”, stressing the need to “remove the union and political cover for all those who practise violence in Moroccan universities”. – You can read the full article on the University World News site