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CBS Inc. has joined the list of institutions sponsoring educationally oriented Bicentennial events with a student writing competition.

To enter, students in grades 4-12 must write, in 100 words or less, what the U.S. Constitution means to them in their daily lives.

The network's president, Thomas F. Leahy, said topics may include "any aspect of any portion of the Constitution or its amendments.''

Entries must be submitted to local CBS affiliates by May 15. Each participating station will select one local winner, and six national finalists will be chosen from among the local winners. Finalists will be announced by August.

Each of the six winning entries will be featured in a segment of CBS's yearlong "We The People'' series. Winners will receive a $500 U.S. Savings Bond, and their schools will be given $1,000 for a school scholarship fund.

For more information on the contest, students or teachers should get in touch with their local CBS stations.

A 35-minute version of the film "Witness to Apartheid,'' broadcast recently on public-television stations, is now available for classroom use from the Southern Africa Media Center.

Distribution of the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award, is being subsidized by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in an effort to enhance instruction about apartheid in South Africa.

The documentary focuses on youths growing up under the country's policy of strict racial separation and examines their struggles against daily violence.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has asked that teachers "consider showing [the film] as your moral obligation.''

The video costs $85 and is accompanied by a curriculum guide for a three- to five-day unit on South Africa. To place orders, write the Southern Africa Media Center, 630 Natoma Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94103.

The National School Boards Association has joined with Turner Educational Services to sponsor a pilot project aimed at providing television news for classroom use.

Schools in 33 districts in 16 states are participating in the 10-week project through the association's Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education.

The schools will test the Cable News Network's "Week in Review'' program as a video teaching tool for studying current events. Classroom guides will be distributed to schools through a telecommunications network that will send the lessons to a teacher's personal computer.

"This is the first time teachers will be able to use timely news information from a major television network as a basis for studying current events,'' James Mecklenburger, the institute's director, said.

The association will evaluate the project when it is completed to determine how the service could function in schools nationwide, Mr. Mecklenburger said.

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