R6bn budget boost for higher education

first_img11 December 2009 “These and various other recommendations of the task team have been adapted to a new draft policy, which the minister wishes to implement in 2011/12,” said the Department of Education in a statement this week. “The minister will seek the advice of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) before taking a final decision on the implementation of this new policy.” “Minister Nzimande is [also] committed to advancing transformation in higher education and therefore believes that a new funding framework is necessary to ensure higher access and success rates particularly for black African and disadvantaged students, and improved quality of teaching and research,” the department added. He said the department has also earmarked allocations of R39-million for 2010/11 and R41-million for 2011/12 for the National Institutes for Higher Education in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, where exploratory work is being conducted on establishing new universities. Nzimande also recommitted his department to reducing the percentage of students who are not subsidised as a consequence of over-enrolment by universities. To gain access to the funds, institutions would have to do the following: The budged for higher education is set to grow progressively over the next three years, with Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announcing that the amount is expected to grow from R15.3-billion in the 2008/9 financial year to R21.3-billion in 2011/12. One of the features of the proposed new teaching development policy is that 80% of the MTEF budget for teaching outputs would be distributed on the basis of the actual teaching outputs or graduates produced by universities, while the balance of 20% would be used for teaching development grants. Another feature is that the distribution of the funds available would be based on the share each institution has of the degree credit total of the higher education system. This is to ensure that all institutions are eligible for teaching development funds. It is envisaged that teaching development grants would continue to be earmarked funds which must be used for purposes designated by the minister. Meanwhile, a ministerial task team has recommended that the current policy on the calculation and distribution of teaching development grants be discontinued. Improving graduation rates With regard to research development grants, the ministerial task team has recommended that the current policy on the calculation and distribution of grants be discontinued from the 2011/12 financial year.center_img The balance of 20% would be used for research development grants. It is also proposed that all universities would be eligible for research development grants. The main recommendations of the task team are that the minister should be able to set the annual amount available for teaching development as a fixed proportion of the total allocation for teaching outputs, and that all institutions should be eligible for teaching development funding, and not only those whose performance fell below national output norms. They would have to submit plans indicating what interventions they could make to improve success rates in these courses. These plans would have to be accompanied by expenditure budgets. Teaching development grants “The minister’s new requirement would be that these funds must be used in targeted ways to improve the success and graduation rates of disadvantaged students,” the department said. Research development grants Speaking in Pretoria this week, Nzimande said the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) figures were tentative and subject to confirmation in the budget presentation. Annual progress reports would have to have to be submitted. These would have to describe the outcomes of the implementation of the plans, including indications of changes that have occurred in success rates. They would have to identify those programmes in which the graduation rates of disadvantaged students are significantly lower than those of advantaged students. They would have also to identify the courses within those programmes which are failed by large proportions of disadvantaged students. The main features of the proposed new research policy, on which the minister will also seek advice from the CHE, include that 80% of the MTEF budget for research outputs would be distributed on the basis of the actual research outputs produced by universities. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

A New Commercial Ontology from Hakia

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Note the number of traces required in a conventional ontology approach compared to the sequence approach. The sequence approach requires a lot of data storage space (which is dirt cheap), whereas the conventional ontology approach requires a lot of CPU for a simple mapping task (which is expensive). But the bad news does not stop there. The trace routes in conventional ontology require manual work (impossible to automate), whereas sequence-based ontology can be easily built via automation.Perhaps not everyone will understand the second point above. Nevertheless, the scalability and performance of the end product will speak for themselves when Hakia puts the testing platform online.Usage of the Commercial OntologyThe immediate use of the CO is for search queries, or document characterizations, not tied to any advertising in conventional systems. This unrecognized domain of search queries and characterizations means loss of revenue. Hakia’s CO is designed to fill in this gap. For example, if the search query or page characterization is “beat generation,” the CO can map it to “literature” on the fly. As a result, systems using the CO will have a much deeper understanding of the incoming terms, and thus will be able to recognize the underlying intent beyond the face value of the words. The same capability can be used in a number of places other than advertising with the same effect.Stay tuned for the release of the first version of Hakia‘s commercial ontology. Tags:#Sponsors#web Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market rww sponsor 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Editor’s note: we offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write ‘Sponsor Posts’ and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.We at Hakia are proud to announce our upcoming commercial ontology, perhaps the world’s first. What is a commercial ontology? If you’re asking this question you have just touched on an important distinction: fantasy versus reality. In the context of the Web, a commercial ontology is a realistic version of an ontology, as we explain below.Realities of the WebHakia has accomplished two important innovations in building its commercial ontology (CO): first, the development of concepts and lexicons that follow strict guidelines on the realities of Web operations. What are these realities? Most search queries on the Web reflect a single dimension of intent, almost exclusively relevant to commercial topics. “Commercial topics” here must be taken in the broadest sense possible. For example, if you were looking for “the benefits of foot massage” or “the director of the movie Last Emperor,” your queries would fall into a commercial pattern. One particular distinction of the commercial pattern is that they come in short packages, including a name (onomasticon) or referring to something sold, bought, watched, heard, etc.In contrast, many (if not all) ontologies that have been built to date (or claimed to exist) are focused on the use of language in the general sense, but not in the sense of commercial patterns on the Web. Therefore, their usefulness when tackling Web search queries is greatly compromised, sometimes to the point of absolute failure. If such an ontology could disambiguate a dozen different senses of the word “kill,” it would be sad news if the last 100,000 queries in the search logs did not include a single occurrence of the word “kill.” Like drowning in two-inch-deep water, such ontologies do not use their disambiguation capacities for nearly 80% of queries because the queries include nothing but onomasticons or are too short (under-articulated).The Sequence ApproachThe second innovation used in the CO is the use of sequences instead of single words. A single word, like “kill,” is the most ambiguous state of information and is hardly used in human communication without a strong implied context. As a result, building natural-language processing (NLP) systems by taking individual words as units of computation is an invitation for disaster.In contrast, word sequences (two or more words) are inherently safe and highly descriptive. Take “road kill,” for example. This sequence describes the corpse of an animal killed on the road by a passing vehicle. If a language processing system takes the sequence of words as a unit of computation, 99% of the ambiguity problem vanishes. There is no need to process the words “kill” and “road” separately, trace their senses, and locate convergence to identify the meaning of “road kill” if you can just take the sequence “road kill” itself as your unit of computation for mapping. This is depicted below:last_img read more

Punjab names five sportspersons as members of PIS governing council

first_imgThe Punjab government on Saturday approved the names of five eminent sportspersons as members of the governing council of the Punjab Institute of Sports.An official spokesperson said the names have been approved by Chief Minister Amaridner Singh. The sportspersons, to be part of the governing council are renowned hockey player and Arjuna Awardee Brig. Harcharan Singh, eminent athlete and Arjuna Awardee Gurmeet Kaur, noted Kabaddi player and Arjuna Awardee Hardeep Singh, cricketer and Arjuna Awardee Harbhajan Singh and internationally acclaimed shooter and Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee Abhinav Bindra.PIS is the principal policy formulating body of sports in Punjab. The institute has been mandated to create a sizeable pool of high-potential sportspersons, to be groomed as medal prospects for the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and other national and international competitions.last_img read more