FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers held a Fundraiser Gala on Saturday night at the Pomeroy Hotel.The Fundraiser Gala was held to help raise funds for the Flyers as they are hosting the 2019 Coy Cup.Paul van Nostrand, President of the Flyers, says the event was very successful, adding that they don’t have a total count on funds raised as of Monday, February 4.- Advertisement -“It was awesome. We had well over 100 people attend and a lot of terrific items for door prizes and for silent auctions. The meal was fantastic and we haven’t got a total yet; we’re just very happy with the support that we received.”The 2019 Coy Cup is taking place on March 26 to the 30 at the North Peace Arena in Fort St. John.Tickets are available on Energetic Tickets and at Systems Sound Source, located in Fort St. John at 10421 100 street.Advertisement
As South Africa joins the discussion on improving the state of the world at the WEF meeting in Davos, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO of the National Research Foundation, argues that education and innovation are the most important routes to growing South Africa’s economy.A portion of the Karoo Array Telescope, a precursor for South Africa’s massive country-spanning Square Kilometre Telescope project. (Image: Brand South Africa)Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO of the National Research FoundationSouth Africa is currently taking part in the World Economic Forum annual meeting in the Swiss village of Davos. WEF is uniquely placed to offer the country a chance to position itself and communicate its value proposition to international decision makers. Importantly, Davos gives the South African delegation an opportunity to learn from other countries and from the many research reports WEF produces. One such report is the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report, which indicated that South Africa’s international ranking had dropped by three points from 53 to 56. The four major contributors to the drop are declines in market efficiency for goods and services (28 to 32), financial market development (3 to 7), technological readiness (62 to 66), and innovation (39 to 43).While all four areas are important, from my vantage point the drop in innovation is particularly relevant. Far from being a parochial interest of researchers and innovators, innovation has to be a societal concern. From this century onwards, innovation capability will determine the relative wealth of nations and is the future gold for South Africa. In short, innovation is a catalyst for development.This point is, appropriately, made in the National Development Plan, which states “South Africa’s prospects for improved competitiveness and economic growth rely, to a great degree, on science and technology … innovation derived from science and technology and knowledge creation is the primary driver of technological growth and driver of higher living standards.”Even though the report records a drop in South Africa’s innovation, it notes improvement in the quality of our research institutions. This is borne out by the 2013 National Advisory Council on Innovation’s report on South African science and technology, which showed that the country’s research system was performing better than all of the other Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – and sometimes better than Japan, the UK and US, as rated by a range of research-effectiveness measures.South Africa’s drop in innovation, according to WEF, largely due to slides in private sector spending on R&D, university-industry collaboration in R&D, and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patents applications. This means we must explore why business is not investing in R&D, despite the existing tax incentive.We must also encourage more collaboration between universities and industry. South African universities have rich research talent that can be used to support the private sector.One, if not the major, hindrance to us unleashing the power of innovation is our basic education. Innovation requires large numbers of intelligent and highly skilled tinkerers who can change the course of events, either through small backyard operations or through focused private sector investment. All countries that have rapidly grown their economies – South Korea being a prime example – did so by improving the quality and reach of their primary and secondary education.Poor education at school level affects the number and quality of those who can gain tertiary qualifications and university acceptance. It also determines the level of job complexity that a South African matriculant can handle, as opposed to someone with and equivalent qualification from another country.The answers to our basic education challenges lie not in more money but in a societal commitment. Learners must commit themselves to doing what it takes to master the material. Teachers must commit to showing up at school and using every minute to teach the material and ensure the learners master it. Government must commit to providing the necessary resources, on time, and the facilities necessary for education. As a society, we must commit to giving each learner the best possible opportunities for success.In addition, the country must develop high-end skills necessary to sustain a future knowledge economy. This not only means steering students towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics from school to postgraduate level, but also supporting those who want to pursue PhDs, which are critical for high-end research capabilities as well as for training a new generations of researchers.This year’s WEF will give South Africa an opportunity to learn from the successes of other countries, investigate ways these successes can be customised and implemented locally, and start a national commitment towards improving our innovation landscape in support of the National Development Plan.
At a time when international athletes are worried about their security in India during the Commonwealth Games, the visiting Australian cricket team on Thursday gave thumbs up to the security arrangements for their tour against the hosts.Many star athletes have pulled out and several countries including Australia have issued travel warnings to their citizens, saying there is high risk of a terror strike during the Games.According to media reports, Australia is also sending a team of top cops to New Delhi to provide a high-level security cordon to its athletes for the Games.However, the Australian cricketers have described as “fantastic” the arrangements.”The security so far has been fantastic. We always get looked after very well in this country. All the players and other guys are excited about being here,” Australia’s vice captain Michael Clarke said during an interaction with the journalists.”Ever since we arrived in India, the security has been outstanding. Right now, we feel very comfortable and are looking forward to the two Tests and the ODIs later on,” he added.Australian cricket team arrived here on September 20 and are scheduled a two-Test and three-ODI series.The series opener will begin here on October 1.All-rounder Shane Watson too found no problems with the security ever since the team has landed in Delhi.”Security has very good. We are being looked after extremely well. I also play for (IPL team) Rajasthan Royals and have been coming here regularly. I find the security and other arrangements exceptional,” Watson said.advertisementOff-spinner Nathan Hauritz also echoed the same sentiment.”There are lot of people around for our security. They are trying to look after us really well,” he said.Youngsters Steve Smith and Phillip Hughes said they have no clue why there is so much hue and cry about the security issue.Clarke said he has always loved touring India.”I love touring here. I also love the Indian food. I must say that I have been lucky to play in India and also enjoyed a bit of a success here. We get looked after well and people here are so passionate about this game.”And the people here also know the way Australia plays and we also love to entertain them by playing best cricket,” Clarke said.