Monthly Archives: October 2010

A letter to Matriculant class of 2010, By Jonathan Jansen (VC UOFS)

Professor Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor University Of Free State

This letter appeared on its entirely on Timeslive on the 27th of  October 2010. I liked it so much that I had to re-post it here. It does not in anyway reflect my views and opinion, but rather that of Professor Jonathan Jansen.

Dear Matriculant class of 2010

I am sure by now you are tired of all the advice about your senior certificate examinations and how the grade 12 results will determine your future. Your teachers and parents must be on you all the time about putting in every effort for “this is it!”

Actually, most of what you heard in the run-up to the examinations is very bad advice.

First of all, the grade 12 examinations do not determine your future. In fact, most universities no longer look at the grade 12 results alone, but also at a range of other assessments, including the National Benchmark Tests, to determine whether to admit you to higher learning or not. Some university programmes might even interview you to get beyond the paperwork and see whether you have what it takes to succeed in university and in the world of work.

You see, what they do not tell you, is that many universities do not trust the senior certificate results even though the standard of the examinations is much more credible that it was about 10 years ago.

Second, as you know, it is possible in South Africa to pass some subjects with 30% or 40%. If this is your aim, my advice to you is spare yourself the pressure of the final examinations. Go to a beach somewhere and sell seaweed to fishermen, for your prospects in university or in society are completely non-existent if you take the standards of the Department of Basic Education as your passing goal.

Go into that examination with the aim of passing well. Our school system is based on mediocrity not excellence; it bestows favour on those who scrape through rather than those who outstrip their potential. A pass of 30% means (gulp) that you are clueless about 70% of the work. Show some self-respect, and aim for the top of your class.

Third, there is nothing you can do in the last month before an examination. Adults have lied to you if they pushed you into cram schools or spring camps under the illusion that you can take three years of senior learning and press this into your head within a few weeks. All that nonsense you hear about students who stayed up all night to write the examination the next morning is extremely dangerous.

The month before and the night before is a time to rest, to do simple revision and not to stress yourself. The brain, unlike other muscles, is a sophisticated organ – not one that can be subjected to sudden press-ups just before a race.

Fourth, and this is going to hurt, if you did not study steadily, all year round, you are not going to pass. If you did not use the time productively while your teachers went on that prolonged and destructive strike, expect the worst. I know this is terrible to say, but it is much better for you to hear the truth now and prepare yourself for the outcome, than to raise your hopes and have them dashed later.

I know of a lazy but earnest evangelical student who sat for his matric physics exam many years ago and prayed as he lifted the pen to write: “Speak Lord, your servant heareth.” Needless to say, his physical science results were rotten.

Fifth, and this is going to hurt even more, at least two of your subjects have nothing to do with your further education. The one is life orientation and the other is mathematical literacy. Do not get me wrong, any meaningful learning in these two areas will probably make you a better citizen or a more informed consumer; stuff like that.

But do not for one moment think that mathematical literacy will boost your chances of higher education; even weaker universities now realise that a good mark in math lit is a poor predictor of success.

Sixth, most of you should not go to university to begin with. Society has given you the wrong message about post-school learning opportunities. I hope more and more of you will pursue high-quality vocational training through further education and training colleges or their equivalent. Much is being done to ensure that these colleges improve the three critical things needed for quality vocational training: highly skilled personnel, top-quality equipment, and a positive teaching and learning climate.

Seventh, you are smarter than any examination can foretell. If you do well, congratulations. If not, one page of poor results is not the end of the world. I will be holding thumbs for all of you. Write well.

Jonathan Jansen, is a regular academic commentator on Sunday Times, and he is Vice-Chancellor and a principal at the University Of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.


Posted by on October 28, 2010 in General


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Going Green, Are you environmentally friendly?

Don’t you think that we are living in an increasingly challenging world? The “Going green”  campaign is the next big thing if it is not a big thing yet. Corporates, organizations and institutions of higher learning observe the importance of going green.

Global warming is the biggest and the most debated topic in this world. All of a sudden everybody started to be environmentally friendly, an act with which will help  in leading an environmentally healthy lifestyle.

Well, It is quite impressive to note that people and businesses are buying into the going green initiative. We have seen companies with a message that warn people of printing emails unnecessary. Civilised people are restraining from littering, putting lights on unnecessary, recycling and not leaving tap water dripping.

No matter how insignificant  the above mentioned acts may seem, they contribute positively to the planet earth in a way that carbon footprint is being reduced. Among other things, more than 16 000 litres of water is being saved, money for stationery is being cut-down and some product are being re-used and recycled.

The question of interest is “Are we, as human beings really environmentally friendly?”

I do not believe that human beings are really committed to the “Going green initiative”. How many of us are eating meat? I do feel that if we claim to be environmentally friendly, people need to cut down significant amount of meat intake per week. Eating meat pose danger to the environment.

Why eating meat is considered being environmentally unhealthy?

  • The livestock industry is responsible for 18% of global green house gases.
  • It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef. (With 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger & malnutrition, this grain could be used to feed these people.
  • It takes 16000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. (Now this is a real shock!)
  • 5.6 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year. (Now this is brutality).

The above argument is further supported by Mark bittman, on his Ted Talk “what’s wrong with what we eat”. Sit back, relax and watch his video and be intrigued.

Be environmentally friendly, all the cool kids are doing it!!!

Source: EcoMaties Sustainability society (A green initiative of the University of Stellenbosch).

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Posted by on October 16, 2010 in Business



IAS 69: Accounting for Girlfriends

The objective of IAS 69 is to prescribe the accounting treatment for girlfriends. The principal issues are the timing of recognition of a female friend as a girlfriend, the number of days the relationship can be carried on and any write down in this romantic relationship. It also provides guidance on the methods to be employed to make girlfriend.

This IAS applies to all girlfriends except those whose father, brother, ex-boyfriends or prospective boyfriends are working in police, army, intelligence agencies or political organizations or six feet tall, have muscular body and know kung fu, judo or any other marshal art.

The following terms are used in this Standard with the meanings specified:

LOVE is a serious mental disease, mostly found in old Indian movies, dramas and Shakespearean literature.
FLIRTING is the modern form of love; this disease came from Hollywood movies, new Indian movies, internet, mobile phones, and English literature.
MARRIAGE is a long term liability as a result of PAST events that is expected to be settled by increasing the population, decreasing the health and money.
GIRL FRIEND is a current asset as a result of past efforts and events that is probable to generate future dates, physical contact and gifts. If not properly handled may become long-term liability i.e. wife.
BOYFRIEND-SPECIFIC VALUE is the present value of the future dates that a boyfriend expects to realize from continuing use of the girlfriend over its useful life and from its disposal to his another friend at the end of the flirting term.
FLIRTING TERM is the higher of the following:
-from your first conversation till the time the girlfriend father catches you
-from the time of your first date till your girlfriend get married with another person ,in which case she will become your ex-girlfriend
-from the time of your first date till you get married with your girlfriend, afterward it will become a suffering term.

A girl shall be recognized as a girl friend if, and only if:
(a) it is probable that future physical benefits associated with the girlfriend will flow to the boyfriend,
(b) no possibility of girlfriend becoming a long term liability (wife) exists and
(c) the expenditures to be incurred (e.g. in respect of gifts, cards etc ) can be measured reliably Female Cousins, younger sisters, and other female friends associated with the girlfriend should not be recognized. However, beautiful and bold ones should be declared in the flirting statement if and only if it is probable that they are expected to result in prospective girlfriends.

All the following factors shall be considered in determining the useful life of a girlfriend:
(a) Expected “usage” of the girlfriend.
(b) Expected “physical” wear and tear, which depends on “operational” factors such as the number of “shifts” the girlfriend is to be used.
(c) Technical or commercial obsolescence arising from changes in fashion or “service output” of the girlfriend.
(d) “Legal” or similar limits on the “use” of the girlfriend.


The girlfriend shall be derecognized:

1. at the end of the useful life of girlfriend or flirting term whichever is earlier,
2. when no future benefits are expected from her or her disposal or 3.
3. when remote possibility of girlfriend becoming long term liability occurs.


The flirting statement shall disclose, for each “class” of girlfriend:
a) Total number of girlfriends with:
-age of girlfriend
-complexion, face cut
-the useful life of each girlfriend
-email address, residential address and mobile no. of each girlfriend
-any “special” benefits that may have been derived from the girlfriend
b) A reliable estimate of the boyfriend regarding no. of expected girlfriends for each class of girlfriend.
c) A reliable estimate of the expenditures to be incurred (e.g. in respect of gifts, cards etc) for each class of girlfriend.

And we will send you a copy of a disclaimer.

SOURCE: Accountancy Students (United Kingdom) and AccountacySA (may 2009, issue)


Posted by on October 10, 2010 in Business


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