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Recent Submissions

"Making useful men and women of our children": Investigating the Medical Inspection of Schools in the Cape Province, 1918-1938
(2023-03) Lemon, Kelsey; Sapire, Hilary; Fourie, Johan; Sapire, Hilary
The history of school medical services is an underrepresented area in the South African historiography, either of education, childhood, or medicine. Little is known about the ideological or legislative origins of inspections, nor how these programmes operated, and what effect they had on social meanings of childhood and the state of child health. The thesis addresses this gap by examining the pioneering years of the Cape school medical service, (1918-1938). The Cape Province in the interwar, segregation era offers a unique case given its size and history of liberalism. In the twentieth century, the state claimed greater responsibility for the welfare of some of its citizens; ameliorating white poverty while entrenching systems to segregate those who were black, coloured, or Indian. Beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing through the twentieth, childhood was progressively regulated through state intervention, compulsory education, and child welfare work. Nevertheless, one’s class, gender, and especially race mediated the extent to which this idealised (western, middle-class) vision of childhood was a possibility for all children. The thesis applies traditional qualitative techniques and quantitative analysis to a range of sources, chief among them being the annual reports of the school medical inspectors. It is found that those promoting school medical inspections touted the service as a best means for alleviating white poverty and securing a healthy, productive white population. The thesis thus uncovers the political origins of school medical inspections and contributes to understanding how child health was leveraged in discussions of the “poor white problem”. When inspections began in 1918, inspectors were restricted to visiting school board schools which were predominantly (but not exclusively) white. In examining the operation of school medical inspections, it is found that, while the service’s value was widely perceived, financial insufficiency limited what the inspectors were ultimately able to achieve. A failure to provide medical treatment for indigent children also restricted the service’s impact. The thesis argues that demands for state involvement in the provision of free treatment offer a window on this early period in South Africa’s social welfare history and societal notions about the state's responsibility to its youngest citizens. By applying a mixed-methods approach to the annual school medical inspection reports, the thesis explores the impact of the Cape school medical service. To do this, the statistical returns of the inspection reports were transcribed which (recognising bias and subjectivity inherent in the data) constitutes a new dataset for examining historical child health outcomes in the Cape. The thesis finds, through their annual reports, the inspectors constructed an image of child health. This image comprised subjective meanings of healthiness and the contemporaneous state of child health. By measuring public and parental compliance with inspections, the thesis finds that school medical inspections contributed to the medicalisation of childhood, education, and parenting. Through their everyday interaction with children, lectures to teachers, meetings with parents and publication of official reports, the Cape school medical service altered societal perceptions of the ideal childhood.
Quantum randomness
(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Strydom, Conrad; Tame, M. S.; Bosman, G. W.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Science. Dept. of Physics.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Randomness is a vital resource with many important applications in information theory. In particular, random numbers play a ubiquitous role in cryptography, simulation and coordination in computer networks. When ran- domness is generated using classical techniques, the unpredictability relies on incomplete knowledge which can introduce ordered features and compromise the application. This thesis explores the use of quantum techniques to generate true randomness and its application to quantum computing. The analogue of random numbers in quantum information are random unitary operators sampled from the uniform Haar ensemble, which are used in a number of quantum protocols. Unfortunately, these cannot be generated efficiently and so pseudorandom ensembles called unitary t-designs are frequently used as a substitute. In the first part of this thesis we investigate t-designs realised using a measurement-based approach on IBM quantum computers. In particular, we implement an exact single-qubit 3-design on IBM quantum computers by performing measurements on a 6-qubit graph state. We show that the ensemble of unitaries realised was a 1-design, but not a 2-design or a 3-design under the test conditions set, which we show to be a result of depolarising noise. We obtain improved results for the 2-design test by implementing an approximate 2-design, which uses a smaller 5-qubit graph state, but the test still does not pass for all states due to noise. To obtain a theoretical understanding of the effect of noise on t-designs, we investigate the effect of various noise channels on the quality of single-qubit t-designs. We show analytically that the 1-design is affected only by amplitude damping, while numeric results obtained for the 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-design suggest that a 2t-design is significantly more sensitive to noise than a (2t − 1)-design and that, with the exception of amplitude damping, a (2t + 1)-design is as sensitive to noise as a 2t-design. Next, we test our approximate measurement-based 2-design on an important application in quantum com- puting, namely noise estimation. For this, we propose an interleaved randomised benchmarking protocol for measurement-based quantum computers that can be used to estimate the fidelity of any single-qubit measurement- based gate. We demonstrate our protocol on IBM quantum computers by estimating the fidelity of a universal single-qubit gate set using graph states of up to 31 qubits. Estimated gate fidelities show good agreement with those calculated from process tomography, which shows that our approximate measurement-based 2-design is of sufficient quality for use in randomised benchmarking, despite not passing our test for all states. While IBM quantum computers provide a sophisticated platform for randomness generation, they are not specifically designed for this task. We therefore investigate randomness generation on custom-built hardware, by integrating an on-chip nanowire waveguide into an optical time-of-arrival based quantum random number generation setup. Despite loss, we achieve a random number generation rate of 14.4 Mbits/s. The generated bits did not require any post-processing to pass industry standard tests. Our experiment demonstrates an order of magnitude increase in generation rate and decrease in device size compared to previous studies.
Not suicidal, just don’t want to live : A critical discourse analysis of the discursive construction of depression and suicidal ideation in the mental health community on Reddit
(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Shirley, Renee; Mongie, Lauren Danger; Brookes, Heather Jean; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : This research study investigated the discursive (re)construction of experiences of depression and suicidal ideation on the online social networking (OSN) platform Reddit from 2021-2022 through a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) lens. The study aimed to aid contemporary understandings of the ways in which depression and suicidal ideation is currently being (re)constructed online in order to gain insights into the ways in which people describe their lived experiences of mental illnesses on anonymous OSN platforms such as Reddit. Another primary aim of the study was to make a meaningful contribution to the field of CDA by surpassing the conventional focus on discourse produced by power elites in order to enforce their dominance against oppressed and marginalised communities and increase our insight into the different ways that experiences of depression and suicidal ideation are articulated and discursively (re)constructed when all audience members have the same opportunities to participate in the discourse. In order to explore this topic, this study addressed the following research questions: (i) How are depression and suicidal ideation discursively (re)constructed on a Reddit forum that topicalises depression and suicidal ideation?; (ii) Which themes occur most commonly in online discussions of depression and suicidal ideation?; (iii) Which discursive devices are used to (re)construct the themes of depression and suicidal ideation?; and (iv) What are the attitudes and ideologies surrounding depression and suicidal ideation on a specific forum on Reddit called r/depression? To answer the listed research questions, the data collected for this study were analysed within the paradigm of CDA using van Dijk’s (1991, 1993, 1995a,b,c, 1998a, 2001, 2006) socio-cognitive approach to CDA, Baker’s (2006) Corpus-Assisted Discourse Analysis, Braun and Clarke’s (2006, 2019) Thematic Analysis, and Labov’s (1997, 2006) approach to Narrative Analysis. The findings of this research study revealed that the posts on r/depression were largely focused on five main themes, namely (i) Experiential depressive symptoms, (ii) Suicidal ideation, (iii) Solutions to depression and suicidal ideation, (iv) Causes of depression, and (v) Reasons they do/won’t want to die. The content of these themes suggests that discourses on the subreddit r/depression express negative attitudes towards depression, with users frequently (re)constructing depression as a negative personified entity that controls their lives; whereas, in contrast, representations of suicidal ideation are generally (re)constructed in a positive way in the sense that it is frequently described as a hypothetical thought exercise that people use as a coping strategy, rather than making actual plans to complete suicide. Finally, the study found that there was a significant amount of self-stigmatisation in the posts in which authors othered themselves by expressing negative sentiments about themselves and their experiences with depression. This finding contradicts van Dijk’s (2011: 396) prediction that discourse always constructs members of the ingroup in positive ways.
An Exploration of Lower Limb Prosthetics Service Delivery in Namibia in Comparison to Global Standards
(2023-03) Likando, Christopher; Visagie, Surona; Mji, Gubela
Background: In 2017, the World Health Organisation published prosthetics and orthotics standards that are aimed at improving prosthetics and orthotics services internationally. The standards are meant to assist member states to improve prosthetics service delivery. The prosthetics standards document calls for the comparison of “the national prosthetics systems and services with the complete set of standards to derive a baseline against which to monitor further development” (WHO, 2017: xxi). Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the status of lower limb prosthetics service delivery in the public healthcare system of Namibia and compare it against the World Health Organisation`s global standards for prosthetics and orthotics. Methods: A sequential mixed methods design was adopted for this study where qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (cross-sectional survey) data were collected and analysed sequentially. The study was carried out in Namibia's Khomas (urban) and Oshana (rural) regions. Insufficient records necessitated non-probability sampling in both settings and phases. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with two service managers, nine service providers, and 16 prosthetics service users guided by interview schedules. Quantitative data were collected from two service managers, ten service providers, and 120 lower limb prosthetics service users. A survey was developed for managers and providers while users completed the TAPES-R. Content analysis was used for the qualitative data. The 60 standards provided deductive themes. Quantitative data was mainly analysed descriptively. Data from the two phases was triangulated and presented together. Findings: Findings showed that 12 of the 60 standards were implemented in Namibia. A further 28 were partially adhered to, while 20 were not implemented at all. Namibia had national policies that guide prosthetic service delivery, but the policies were outdated and not well adhered to. The study established that funding was available but insufficient. There was a wide range of prosthetics products available at no cost to users. Users’ needs were mostly met by available prosthetic products except for the ability to perform vigorous activities and participate in sports, which were limited for 90.8% (n=109) and 87.5% (n=105) of users respectively. Service users 82.6% (n=99) were satisfied with their prosthetic devices and the prostheses allowed them to be economically active 75.0% (n=90). Service providers were well-trained but did not regularly participate in continuous professional development. Training to qualify as a prosthetics service provider was not available in Namibia and in-service training opportunities were scarce. The number of service providers was insufficient. Lower limb prosthetics services were provided to all in need but often this involved long travel distances (mean 258.38 km; sd 265.611) as services at the primary level were not readily available. Users were not involved in policy development and implementation. Experienced users had the choice of products and providers, but first-time users did not. Users were provided with training, follow-up, and repairs. There was little collaboration with other team members during prosthetic rehabilitation. Conclusion: The study showed that more efforts are needed toward improving the delivery of lower limb prosthetics services in Namibia and upgrading them to levels that are in accordance with the World Health Organisation standards. It was concluded that a systems approach, based on the ten ‘Ps’ of systems thinking in assistive technology, could be adopted as a conceptual framework to identify interventions that can be most effective and efficient in efforts to meet the required standards.
Utilising Choice Theory and Reciprocal Teaching to promote the teaching of reading comprehension in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6)
(Stellenbosch - Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Messina, Mitchell; Le Cordeur, Michael; Robey, Patricia
In South Africa, learners’ standard of reading in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6) is cause for considerable concern. The 2016-PIRLS findings have provided overwhelming evidence that South African Grade 4 learners struggle with reading comprehension (Pretorius & Klapwijk, 2016). In addition, key findings of the same study showed that 78% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa do not have basic reading skills by the end of the Grade 4 school year. Therefore, the reading comprehension standard in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6) of South Africa is in dire need of reconsideration. This study investigated how Choice Theory, as an explanation of human behaviour, can provide a foundation to enhance the teaching of Reciprocal Teaching reading comprehension strategies. The study highlighted that Choice Theory in education provides an intrinsic model of teaching that could be utilised to promote the explicit teaching of the four reading comprehension strategies of Reciprocal Teaching. This study was a real effort to shift the focus from the learners to the teachers who have not been trained effectively to teach Reciprocal Teaching reading comprehension strategies explicitly. The study was based on the theoretical framework of Social Constructivism, Choice Theory, and Reciprocal Teaching as underpinning theories for the development of the teaching of reading comprehension. A qualitative research approach was adopted to make sense of participants’ experience of Choice Theory and Reciprocal Teaching. For the purpose of this qualitative research, a single-case study was chosen as the research design to obtain in-depth information from the participants. Data were collected through classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings and reflective journals of teachers. The data from the observations and interviews were used triangulated to confirm or disconfirm findings and helped to control or correct the subjective bias of the individual. The researcher used ATLAS.ti, a CAQDAS software programme, to manage and manipulate the data.