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Schavan: "Well educated and trained citizens are the key to the future."

"Human capital development" is the topic of the month for August in the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013.

Whether the cause has been globalisation or new technologies, the realities of our lives and work are shaped by continuous change. That's why it is important to tackle themes such as (vocational) education, lifelong learning and gender mainstreaming and to develop solutions for challenges such as the brain drain and unemployment. Human capital development is a central item on the agenda of every scientific and economic policy which aims for sustainability. This is emphasised by Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research: "Germany hardly has any economically relevant raw materials – all the more important, then, that its citizens should be outstandingly educated and trained. They are the key to our success in the international competitive environment."

Under the umbrella of the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013, projects and events in the two countries have been dealing intensively with the various aspects of human capital development. In the framework of an ideas competition held by the two countries' ministries, a number of initiatives were selected for support.

This support is being given, for example, to a research partnership between the University of Kaiserslautern and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) which tackles the subject of "Mathematical Science Research and Capacity Building" and to a project launched by the University of Rostock in cooperation with the University of the Witwatersrand whose aim is to expand an ongoing training and research network for professional teachers and educationalists in South Africa. With "Women in Science – Promoting Excellence and Innovation for Future Development" as its motto, Kiel University of Applied Sciences is cooperating with the University of Pretoria under the umbrella of the Year of Science. In addition, the "First German-South African School Award 2012 – Materials Science" has been initiated and is being organised by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Südliches Afrika) and South African partners. Their objective is to acquaint the potential scientists of the future with the MINT subjects. The first awards ceremony will be held on the occasion of AHK Südliches Afrika's 60th anniversary celebrations on 5 October 2012, at which the German Economics Minister, the South African Vice-President and the German Ambassador will be present.