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U21 People’s Choice Award for UJ research on Sustainable Universities

A team of academics and students from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have been honoured with the People’s Choice award for their poster presented at the Universitas 21 (U21) online Symposium, hosted by the University of Zurich.

The team members, Prof Kapil Gupta, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Technology; Ms Valentine Khumalo, MTech Student and Dr Madindwa Mashinini, Head of Department: Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Technology, have made efforts to make UJ a sustainable university.

The 2020 Symposium theme was entitled ‘Sustainable Universities; Sustainable University Networks‘. The team’s research was entitled: On Making University Workspace Clean, Efficient, and Safe Using 5S Technique.

The team believes a university can be recognised as a sustainable University in many aspects, such as, having clean and green workplace and environment, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable interventions in ongoing teaching-learning and research activities, and educating students and staff to contribute towards sustainable development goals.

The Japanese technique of ‘5S’ comprises of the following:

  • Seiri (Sort)- removing unwanted items from workplaces
  • Selton (Set in order/organize)- Assigning every item a place
  • Selso (Shine/Clean)- cleaning workplaces
  • Selketsu (Standardise)- Standardazing workplace procedure and processes
  • Shitsuke (Sustain)- Auditing, communicating and training employees for sustainace of the first four 5S

Speaking about their win, Prof Gupta said, “After 5S implementation it was observed that the workshop became neat and clean and free from any hazards, improved working environment and conditions, well organized offices and well secured locations for tools, files, materials and equipment led to substantial reduction in time and efforts to locate the tools and files and enhanced efficiency.”

“Winning the U21 People’s Choice Award will give us the opportunity to not only convey our research to the international scientific community but most importantly, to the global public.” He also urged to global academic and research community to make significant efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals for the wellbeing of the humankind,” concluded Prof Gupta.

In 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty.

The goals of the UN SDG initiative are:

  • To enlist academic institutions that provide health professional training to participate in the education and training of SDGs
  • To incorporate the SDGs into health care curricula through the use of case-study pedagogy
  • To promote global values of professionalism, ethics, and social responsibility in the health professionals of tomorrow
  • To encourage students to participate in field work in local and global under-served communities and attain the SDG targets in those specific communities
  • To facilitate interprofessional learning
  • To foster understanding of interprofessional working in global health issues

 

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