Celebrating our teachers

This story is sponsored

Teachers honoured for their fortitude and resilience in the face of pandemic

Despite the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has nearly collapsed learning and teaching across the country, particularly in impoverished communities, the department of basic education (DBE) successfully hosted the 21st National Teaching Awards (NTA) event.  

The prestigious annual event is held annually to honour and celebrate the country’s teaching profession. This year’s ceremony was held at Emperors Palace in early October, under the theme: 21st Re-imagined National Teaching Awards. 

In her opening address, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga congratulated all the finalists and winners of the esteemed NTA, saying they should “make winning a habit [and] not just for one’s individual satisfaction” but as a national pursuit. 

She said the event should also serve to inspire more excellence in the sector, especially in teaching literacy and numeracy in the foundation phase. Motshekga said strengthening teaching at this level would ensure the country avoids a “generational catastrophe of adults with the poverty of the mind”.

She praised teachers for their commitment and fortitude in the face of the pandemic. “Let’s resolve to work diligently without ceasing, work in concert and work purposely for the common good. On behalf of the government, I salute every teacher in South Africa. You are indeed one of a kind, and worthy of being praised,” said Motshekga. 

She said teaching means going beyond the call of duty to succeed in the context of social ills and socioeconomic challenges. Motshekga said these conditions force teachers “to play the roles of caregivers, mothers, fathers, counsellors, friends, and godparents on any typical day to many of our learners from troubled homes and communities”.  

Added Motshekga: “Your toils in the service of our nation cannot go unnoticed. As we have learned to appreciate over the years, education is not only a fundamental human right; it is often touted as an enabling right with a direct impact on the realisation of all other human rights. By educating our citizens, we are contributing to the success of our democratic project.” 

Citing various studies, including one by the World Bank in 2012, Motshekga said all of these indicate that the top-performing education systems rely on “well-trained and motivated teachers”. Interestingly research confirms that experience is irreplaceable — several years of teaching by outstanding teachers can offset the learning deficits of disadvantaged students, said Motshekga.

She said researchers have identified key strategies for improving learner outcomes and these are firmly anchored around the development of a quality teacher workforce whose key objectives are to:

  • Attract, recruit and retain high-quality candidates into teacher training. 
  • Train with extensive school-based practice. 
  • Train with high-level subject specialisation and academic rigour. 
  • Provide teachers with personalised continuing professional development (CPD) through mentoring and coaching. 
  • Involve teachers in research and education policymaking. 

She said education is a vital instrument that promotes values that undergird democracy as well as foster principles of equity, non-discrimination and social justice, among others. When the education systems malfunction or collapse societies regress to pre-democracy chaos, observed Motshekga. She appealed to teachers to continue with the great work as they carry dreams and aspirations of millions on their broad shoulders. 

In his keynote address President Cyril Ramaphosa also praised teachers as the country’s key resource “whose dedication and commitment drive social development and fosters inclusive growth”. He commended teachers for displaying their excellence and professionalism even at the height of the debilitating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He also paid tribute to teachers and other officials in the education sectors who died from the pandemic and urged teachers and learners to continue observing all the health protocols to prevent further spread of the virus. Ramaphosa also reminded teachers that the event took place at an opportune moment as around the globe World Teachers’ Day has just been celebrated.

Ramaphosa also paid tribute to Professor Kader Asmal who is credited for conceptualising the awards, saying teachers should “recall the passion, tenacity and intellect that Professor Asmal brought to this responsibility”. Said Ramaphosa: “His memory compels us to celebrate the excellence and dedication of those teachers who spare absolutely nothing of themselves in the project to build a new society in pursuit of a better life for all.” 

He said “the fourth industrial revolution is dramatically changing the way we relate to one another, live, work and educate our children”, therefore teachers should be able to transition and teach children new skills so that they can learn how to operate in a world alongside smart machines. In addition, learners should also be taught skills on disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality, blockchain and automation. 

He said the most urgent challenge facing the country is youth unemployment, where most young people who are looking for work do not possess relevant skills or previous work experience. 

Teachers and other key role players should ensure “that our schools, colleges, universities and other training institutions are producing the skills and capabilities that our country needs”, said Ramaphosa. He said this problem can be adequately resolved if every young child has access to early childhood development and by ensuring that the education system  prioritises achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and that we substantially reduce the drop-out rate in our schools.

Ramaphosa said any endeavour aimed at improving opportunities for every school leaver to gain work experience “should align with initiatives like the SA Youth pathway management network, the Presidential Employment Stimulus and the YES  (Youth Employment Stimulus) initiative”. 

He acknowledged and thanked other stakeholders in the education sector, including teacher unions and school governing bodies “who are working with us to build a resilient education system for equitable and sustainable development”. He said it was through solidarity, mutual respect and partnership that the country has been able to overcome the most difficult challenges such as ending apartheid and establishing a united, democratic nation.

Teachers are the key to our digital future

In South Africa, teachers are the pillars of our basic education system. Never has their role been more important in light of the past 18 months, as the traditional schooling system has been rocked by the Covid-19 crisis. Throughout this period, teachers have had to work under extreme, extraordinary conditions to ensure learners all over the country could continue with their education. 

The Seshego Teacher Center, with teacher training in session

As schools were closed to halt the spread of the pandemic, our teachers had to adapt swiftly in their teaching arrangements to accommodate the various needs of their learners remotely and make up for the loss of valuable teaching time under lockdown. In a National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Stellenbosch University, it’s estimated that primary school learners lost about 70% of a full year of learning between March 2020 and June 2021.

For many teachers, this has also been a time of fear and anxiety as they coped with risk of exposure to the virus and tragedy not only in their personal lives but as schools slowly reopened. 

We cannot underestimate the tremendous contributions of our teachers, who have demonstrated commitment, dedication and sacrifice during this period. 

Overcoming education challenges with technology

One of the biggest challenges for teachers during the pandemic has been how to keep supporting learners while not being in a physical classroom. To overcome this, technology has played a critical role in providing access to educational resources at distance. Online learning platforms and messaging services that allow video calls have enabled teachers to ensure continuity in education remotely. 

At Vodacom, we have seen how much of a need there has been for access to digital educational content and tools during the pandemic. Our e-School platform, a zero-rated online education portal for grade R-12 learners, reached over one million registered users last year. Developed in partnership with the DBE in 2014, the platform provides learners, parents and teachers with access to quality digital curriculum and assessment policy statement-aligned content.

But the power of digital technology in education goes beyond Covid-19. It can democratise education by offering access to learning to those in the most remote or underprivileged communities. It can foster digital inclusion so that no one is left behind. 

In addition, as we embrace digital transformation in South Africa, and around the world, the youth need to be equipped to thrive in a technologically enabled future. Integrating technology into learning can nurture the skills, knowledge and confidence to find career opportunities in a work environment dominated by digital advancements. 

Providing ICT support to teachers

However, access to devices, data and skills necessary to navigate these online educational resources remain the biggest barriers to maximising the benefits of technology, both in and out of the classroom. If teachers do not have access to connectivity and training in digital education, how can they be expected to provide support to learners who are experiencing challenges in a digital learning environment?

To this end, the Vodacom Foundation has partnered with the DBE and other organisations such as Microsoft to equip and connect 92 District Teacher Development Centres (DTDCs) across the country, enabling the training of more than 300 000 teachers in digital teaching and learning. Recently, we rolled out a video conferencing solution at these centres, which supports teachers by enabling the broadcast of lessons and direct contact with one another and their learners, as well as the recording of content for future use.

It is through public-private partnership initiatives that we can provide teachers with access to technology and digital literacy training to build an education system that addresses some of our societal challenges, now and going into the future. We must work together as governments, schools, technology providers and other organisations to listen to teachers’ needs and support them in preparing our leaders of tomorrow.

As we reflect on the achievements of our educational heroes at this time, we should recognise that it is teachers who hold the key to unlocking the opportunities offered by digital technology in education. By empowering them, we empower our learners, and can therefore go further together in creating a sustainable, inclusive future.

I Am a School Fan

Driven by deep concern about the increase in violence at and around schools, The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) launched the “I Am a School Fan” campaign against violence in schools in 2019. 

Starting in August 2021, SADTU has partnered with Old Mutual, Brand South Africa and UNICEF to gain more traction and drive awareness throughout South Africa, and successfully launched the national campaign in Gauteng, Soweto.  The campaign is also being launched in the other eight provinces.

The I Am a School Fan campaign aims to address school-related violence in all its forms, in all eight provinces of South Africa, to protect the future of our children

The I Am a School Fan is a societal campaign that aims to mobilise stakeholders, including parents, teachers, learners, communities and government departments to address school-related violence in all its forms. The campaign is in line with SADTU’s 2019 Congress Theme, “Claiming our right to have our human dignity and safety protected and respected in pursuit of a decolonised quality public education.”

The General Secretary of SADTU, Mugwena Maluleke, explains: “We invite all peace-loving citizens to join in the fight against violence. This fight is for the restoration of the dignity of those in our learning institutions. This fight is for the protection of the future of the children. There are many extensions to this campaign. Ultimately, it focuses on bettering behaviours and attitudes in students and teachers. The main focal point is to address the prevalence of violence within the schools. This violence exists on multiple levels.”

As a trade union in the education sphere, SADTU has called on corporate partners for financial aid and added media reach and credibility. Thembisa Mapukuta, General Manager: Alternative Distribution for Old Mutual Retail Mass Market, says: “The right to education is enshrined in the South African Constitution and by supporting the I Am a School Fan campaign, Old Mutual recognises this right and upholds it.

“As a responsible business, Old Mutual is stepping forward to ensure that the education sector’s systemic challenges are addressed, both holistically and collectively. We collaborated with SADTU on this campaign with the objective to raise awareness about violence in schools. However, over the long term we want to ensure that through this partnership we are able to formulate tangible solutions that will eradicate violence in schools and address the issues that could threaten the future of children in South Africa. This will require participation from all stakeholders: government, educators, parents and the community at large.”

I Am a School Fan addresses violence in the immediate school environment and in broader terms:

The immediate school environment (premises and those involved in this environment)

Violence being committed by teachers towards other teachers: This is often gender-based. Female teachers are often ill-treated by those who have been in the system longer than them and hold a position of power. Seven out of 10 teachers are females, yet the management positions are still largely held by men.

Teachers committing violence against learners: This includes illegal corporal punishment and gender-based violence (for example – there have been instances of teachers withholding marks unless the pupil engages in sexual activity, and pupils being sexually assaulted by school staff).

Learner-on-learner violence: This is the most common and exists on many levels. Physical bullying, emotional bullying and cyberbullying are prevalent. Cyberbullying is still fairly new, and it is taking time for those in authority to learn how to deal with it. Cyberbullying has even, in some instances, led to suicide. Cyberbullying reaches the child in the privacy of their home or wherever they take their phone or computer.  Due to the viral nature of the internet, humiliation can be very public and spreads far beyond the schoolyard. 

Learners towards teachers: Teachers know that they cannot respond to physical threats as corporal punishment is not allowed. But they don’t know what systems are in place to support them when they experience abuse at the hands of the learners. The learners are often very aware of their rights and use this to their advantage. 

The broader environment

Violence committed in schools by community members: South Africa is one of the very few countries where communities destroy schools when protesting external issues such as service delivery. Vuwani in Limpopo is a good example of this phenomenon. Violence erupted in the area after it was recommended that the Malamulele and Vuwani municipalities be merged. Residents turned their anger towards 31 schools and burned them. They also prevented pupils from attending school for more than 18 months; 30 000 pupils were affected. This is a generational crisis. 

Theft of resources: Schools are often targets of armed robberies, burglaries and hijackings. For years, the Department of Education has tried to move with the times and implement E-Learning. But the learning and teaching materials are frequently stolen by community members. They are also sometimes resold within the same community. This creates a market for the parts. A paradigm shift is needed within communities for education to be protected.

Maluleke adds: “All of these issues are classified as violence in schools. In 2019, we sat for our ninth congress, where 300 000 members agreed that they want us to fight back against violence and mobilise all sectors of society with a positive message. It needed a name that would also contribute to that positive message, hence the birth of ‘I Am a School Fan’.

“We want to work on what we understand South Africa’s psyche to be. South Africans are sports fanatics and sport has often been a great unifier. We want to harness this and use it as a message that supports education with the same passion that one would [have to] support your favourite team.”

The campaign has been categorised to speak to all the stakeholders in the schooling community:

Learners: As a learner, what is your responsibility towards ensuring that your school community is a haven? You will not bully a fellow pupil and if you witness bullying you should be the first to report it. You will also respect your teachers and not bully them.

Teachers: As a teacher, you will not use corporal punishment. You will not engage in inappropriate relationships with learners. You must respect that you act in loco parentis and should take on a nurturing and supportive relationship in a child’s life. 

The community: Be alert and protective of the school environment.

The Department of Education: Ensure enough funding and resources to ensure a safe school environment.

Parents: Make sure that you participate in the school community. Support the school Code of Conduct, take an interest in the daily running of the school. Support your school management team.

Maluleke concludes: “Covid-19 has made us more mobilised as communities. The launch is well timed, as this is a time when communities are banding together, following the upheaval of lockdown. We need each other more than ever. 

“We need to instil mechanisms where there is recourse. For example, if a teacher administers corporal punishment, it needs to be reported and dealt with. An awareness must also be created of steps to take when these issues arrive. It’s all very well to hear the message, but then what? 

“Initially, the main purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of what each stakeholder should and shouldn’t do. We are communicating the message that, ‘as a stakeholder, you should not do this’, etcetera. And ‘as a stakeholder, you MUST do this’, etcetera.”

For more information on SADTU and the I Am a School Fan campaign, visit the following.
Website: www.sadtu.org.za
Twitter: @SadtuNational
Facebook: SADTU National Office

World Teachers’ Day: Celebrating teachers’ selflessness and commitment

The 21st National Teaching Awards coincided with the global celebration and commemoration of another critical milestone: World Teachers’ Day. The anniversary dates back to 1966 when the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) adopted the recommendations concerning the status of teachers at an intergovernmental conference. 

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga praised South Africa’s teachers for their work under the extremely difficult circumstances brought about by Covid-19

The historic recommendation stipulates the rights and responsibilities of teachers including standards for their initial training, continuing professional development, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. In addition, it also contains proposals for teacher participation in all key educational decision-making processes through social dialogue and negotiation with education authorities. 

Since then, 5 October has been officially adopted as the date on which teachers globally congregate and re-dedicate themselves to the foundational values of education.

The 2021 World Teachers’ day anniversary celebrations took place in an extremely challenging environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has ruined economies and disrupted effective learning and training globally. Held under the theme: “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”, the aim of the event was to also reflect on the impact that the pandemic has had on the health and wellbeing of teachers and the various global education systems. It also explored steps that should be taken to position the teaching profession as a critical vehicle to achieve the global education goals by 2030. 

There was a widely-shared recognition that it was through the sheer collective courage, commitment and passion of teachers that the education systems were saved from a complete shutdown. Amid the pall of gloom caused by the pandemic, teachers stepped into the breach and ensured that there was continuity in learning and teaching. 

In its tribute to the teachers worldwide, Unesco observed: “Never have teachers been more wanted and needed than today. The educational disruptions and school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have confirmed the crucial role of teachers in maintaining learning continuity, but also in sustaining the very dynamics of households, families and communities. During the current crisis, we have witnessed how teachers have been at the heart of educational responses…”

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga also paid tribute to teachers, saying she appreciates the role of each and every teacher across all corners of the country. “The past year has been an extremely difficult time for our teachers, hence I take this opportunity to thank all of [you] for your resilience, courage and dedication to your work, under very difficult circumstances brought about mainly by Covid-19,” said Motshekga.

She praised them for their commitment and sacrifice, saying despite all the daily challenges they are faced with, they kept going and carried the hopes of the country forward in their quest to produce future leaders. 

Teacher unions also celebrated the day and called on the department of basic education (DBE) to value its teachers and invest more in their wellbeing, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) paid tribute to all teachers in the country, saying: “During the past nearly two years, [you] carried our country’s education system through one of the most challenging periods the world has experienced in a long time.” 

In a statement, the union’s executive director Basil Manuel said despite teachers’ legitimate fears for their own health and safety, they have shown commitment, resilience and dedication to the profession, way beyond what could have been expected. He also paid homage to the hundreds of teachers who died as a result of the virus. 

“There can be no doubt that also in South Africa, teachers have been, and will remain, at the heart of our education recovery as was so aptly demonstrated by the way in which the 2020 academic year was saved and the resultant positive matric results,” said Manuel. 

Cynthia Barns of the The National Teachers Union (Natu) said World Teachers’ Day is imperative because it is the day on which teachers are appreciated for the tireless work that they put in. Teaching is a demanding responsibility that needs dedicated teachers, she said. Appreciating teachers on special days such as this, Barns added, will boost their confidence and they will always be enthusiastic to work with learners even beyond their normal stipulated working hours.  

“More than 3 000 teachers have succumbed to Covid-19, leaving those who are lucky to be alive to carry the baton. It is important for teachers to observe the day and look back at the wonderful work they have done. They have nurtured the young ones and brought light where there was darkness, they held the hands of the South African child to the greener pastures,” said Barns. 

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) also commemorated World Teachers’ Day. The union also highlighted the fact that the celebration of the teachers’ day anniversary took place “under a dark cloud of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic that caused untold disruptions to schooling, economy and life in general”. It said in the first year of the pandemic alone, 1 650 teachers lost their lives “and dozens more continue to die”. 

It also hailed the teachers for risking their lives by continuing to carry out their tasks even in the face of the devastating coronavirus. It said these teachers had to adapt to new ways of teaching using online platforms to reach their learners and they also had to put on different hats in service of their learners. 

For instance, said Sadtu, they have had to be counsellors, to learners who have lost their parents and teachers; safety officers, to ensure their schools comply with the health and safety guidelines in order to save their lives as well as those of learners; they have had to sacrifice their precious time with families teaching during weekends and holidays to put in extra hours of work.

Sadtu called on the DBE to increase investment in the wellbeing, training, professional development and working conditions of teachers to recover the learning losses and to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning in the context of the pandemic. — Thabo Mohlala

National Teaching Awards profiles

S/HERO Award

This is a new category that the department of basic education (DBE) has added as part of the 21st edition of the NTA. The category celebrates and recognises “outstanding teachers and principals who brave it all to assist those who cannot access virtual learning”.

Winner:

Nkasana Matlapu

SJ Van Der Merwe Technical High School, Limpopo

Nkasana Matlapu abandoned the thought of studying to be a chartered accountant in favour of education because she felt it was “in her DNA”.  Her high school maths teacher gave her an opportunity to teach her Grade 11 class, and this instilled the love for teaching in her. This year marks her 20th since she started her teaching career.

Matlapu sees the NTA as a culmination of her long journey. “I am very grateful and overwhelmed with joy to be crowned the first Shero of the NTA,” says Matlapu, adding that this is a validation of her efforts to make all learners feel included. 

What brings joy to her is to see all her learners progressing well. As a principal she also ensures she provides the necessary support so that learning and teaching can take place in an environment that promotes creativity and innovation. 

Matlapu also ensures that she avails relevant resources and creates platforms for both her learners and teachers to acquire relevant skills and knowledge for the 4IR. She has also introduced a few initiatives so that learners are actively engaged, and these include: media, robotics and coding club, science club, debate and public speaking, and sporting activities such as gymnastics, drum majorettes, cheerleading and chess.

Some of the problems she has to grapple with relate to the socioeconomic situation in her community, including substance abuse, alcoholism and lack of parental support and involvement. She tries to address these by strengthening policies on safety and security measures at school as well as collaborating closely with key stakeholders such as SAPS, NGOs, social services agencies and the community. 

1st runner-up:

Dr Thabo France Sithole

Philippolis Secondary School, Free State

Dr Thabo France Sithole’s first love was medicine, but during his fourth year he realised he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. He then decided to do medicine and study for a BSc degree concurrently. He became an excellent teacher and produced outstanding results in all the subjects he was tutoring. He then enrolled for a postgraduate certificate in education  to become a fully accredited educator. Today, Sithole has 14 years of teaching experience. 

He dedicated the award to his mentors, family, colleagues, learners and teachers, and the Philippolis community. Sithole says winning the award has rejuvenated and motivated him immensely, adding that he feels like dynamite, ready to explode in shaping and improving the quality of education in the country. 

He says what he likes about the teaching profession is the need to support and nurture the future of African children. Sithole also derives satisfaction when his learners come back to him and say “thank you, I am what I am because of you”. 

To innovate and stimulate his learners, Sithole always tries to link theory and practice. He makes sure that his learners are able to apply the knowledge they learned from each chapter to their real-life situations. Some of the activities that he taps into include: projects, career guidance, field trips and partnering with universities such as UFS to help learners, particularly in maths and science. 

Sithole tries to encourage more parental engagement and also enlists the support of former learners, the SGB, departments of social development, health, roads, traffic and police. He also raises funds from the private sector to provide food parcels to poor learners and finances basic necessities at the school. 

2nd runner-up: Dr Chadley Davids

Protea Heights Academy, Western Cape

Dr Chadley Davids says for as long as he can remember, he has always wanted to become a teacher. “I always knew I wanted to help and make a difference. One could say that I am currently living my lifelong dream.” 

Davids says it is a huge honour to receive the NTA and for being recognised for the hard work he puts in at the school. He says the accolade is not just for him but for his school. “I would not have been successful if I did not have the assistance of my colleagues! So, they deserve the recognition as well,” he says.

Davids, who has been teaching for four years, says what gives him satisfaction is “seeing those smiles on the faces of my learners when they enter my classroom, speaking and engaging with my kids on more than just the content of the subject”.

Teaching is about connecting with and stimulating learners through creative teaching approaches, and Davids says the best way to achieve this is to “link the work you do in the classroom to real life”. He also incorporates various online tools that allow learners to use their cellphones in the classroom. He says this makes the learning process so much fun. “An example would be the Kahoot application. Teaching in a game-based environment with the use of a cellphone also incorporates fourth industrial revolution skills,” says Davids.

He says his “biggest gripe with this pandemic is the loss of social cohesion that our children so desperately need. Learners need to be social with each other”. To ensure this crucial interaction is not disrupted, Davids exploits some of the available online platforms such as Google Meet and Whatsapp groups, among others. He says this proved most efficient as his learners’ grade 12 economics results for 2020 were the highest in the Metro North Education District. 

National Learner Award

This is another new addition to the awards and it intends to celebrate and compliment an exemplary learner who displays resilience despite the Covid-19 disruptions. It also highlights the efforts of extraordinary learners who positively influence their peers and society at large. 

Winner: Nhlakanipho Lindokuhle Lesedi Nkosi

Tlotlanang Combined School, Free State

Nhlakanipho Nkosi says she feels extremely honoured to be the first learner to win this newly-introduced category. She is grateful to the department of basic education for adding this award to recognise the role and contribution of the learners as key partners in the country’s education system. “Winning this category has been both overwhelming and humbling at the time, as it made me realise that hard work pays [off].”  

Nkosi says this encourages and motivates her to continue to work hard and inspire other learners, particularly girl learners. She says she thinks she won the prestigious award because she displayed excellence in and outside of the classroom. 

The 17-year-old says she plans to study forensic pathology because she has a natural liking for solving puzzles, and says this field will enable her to search and uncover truth by studying human bones. She hopes this will enable her to assist families who have lost their loved ones and who have no idea about what happened to them to find closure. 

She expresses concern about the problems of bullying and absenteeism at her school. To help deal with these challenges, Nkosi says she draws on her own experience of having been a victim of bullying. She says one of the big lessons she learned is to psychologically do away with the victimhood mentality and instead focus on being a survivor. She is writing a book, and says writing is another coping mechanism, as one does not get overwhelmed by negative thoughts.

1st runner-up: Nonhlanhla Proudy Mkhonto

Kurhula Secondary School, Mpumalanga

Proudy Mkhonto says she feels really blessed and honoured to take a second place in this newly-launched category of the awards. The 15-year-old learner says the awards made her realise that hard work pays off in the end and that one’s background doesn’t determine one’s future.  

Mkhonto is a resilient and confident young woman with amazing creative skills. She reckons the judges were impressed because she excelled despite her poor socioeconomic situation. She also went out of her way to assist other learners with their studies and other challenges, which boosted their confidence.  

She says mathematics teaches one to think critically and enhances problem solving skills. Similarly, life science helps broaden one’s knowledge and horizons, including the way things are structured and function.  

Her dream is to become a medical doctor. The main inspiration comes from the fact that her grandfather had an eyesight problem; this is why she wants to be an ophthalmologist, to assist community members stricken with the same challenge.  

Mkhonto complains about the limited resources at her school, where lessons take place in mobile classes. There are no laboratories, library or school grounds, making learning an unpleasant experience.  

These problems taught her perseverance, independence and the need for learners to collaborate. She has also started a book club and mini library to assist learners to access study materials. 

National Learner Award

2nd runner-up: Alessio Marcus

Beacon Hill High School, Western Cape

Alessio Marcus, 17, is a determined young man who, despite growing up in a community where gangsterism is rife, was determined to complete his schooling. His goal is to study for a BA in public administration, as he aspires to become a politician. He strongly believes that he can escape the fate that has befallen many youth of his age in his community through education.

Marcus says taking part in the awards was an absolutely life-changing experience as it gave him an opportunity to learn so much about himself. He believes the reason why he is among the winners of the inaugural category is because his portfolio ticked all the boxes that the adjudicators were looking for. These include working hard and constantly protecting the rights of his fellow learners, and always pushing the envelope by standing out, being different and determined. 

Marcus has also shown selflessness and leadership qualities. For instance, he represented learners in all three spheres of government in the capacities of deputy junior mayor of the city of Cape Town, former deputy speaker of the Nelson Mandela children’s parliament and former chairperson of the provincial learner representative council in the Western Cape. 

Marcus’s message to his fellow learners is that they should believe in themselves, and that it all begins with discipline and determination. “Always remember that even if you live in a gang and drug-infested community, you can make it, because the place does not make you, you make the place.” The change starts with us, he concludes. 

Professor Kader Asmal Excellence Award

Winner: Magageng Dorothy Masilo

Lekwakwa Primary School, North West

Magageng Dorothy Masilo won this coveted accolade named after the pioneer of the current National Teaching Award, the late Kader Asmal, who conceptualised them in 2000. 

Says Masilo: “I often think that the little we do does not always go a long way, but with this win I have learnt two things: less is more, and that I should continue to believe in myself.” 

Masilo is the principal of Lekwakwa Primary School, in the North West. She  has been 29 years in the profession, though she never planned to become a teacher. Masilo says she enjoys teaching because she realised that the seed you plant today will later manifest into many professions, and the evidence will be your learners. 

But she says her school faces a number of challenges, the most prominent one being lack of financial resources.  Her school does not charge fees and this makes it difficult for her school to secure the basic resources required to deliver quality education. 

To deal with the problem, Masilo has established a School-based Quality Learning and Teaching Committee, which assists her in a range of fund-raising initiatives such as soliciting sponsorships and donations for the school. 

She has also built strong relationships with the school alumni who assist in a variety of ways, including assisting orphans and vulnerable learners with school uniforms and food parcels. 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Rishichand Sookai Budhal

Rose Heights Primary School, KZN

Rishichand Sookai Budhal (62) is nearing retirement and his departure will certainly leave a huge void that may take years to fill. With four decades in teaching and eight degrees in the fields of education, he undoubtedly has a wealth of experience that the education system sorely needs.   

After he started teaching he enrolled for a number of courses and he became an educational psychologist assisting in research related to child development. 

Budhal says that his philosophy in life is based on service to humanity without expecting any rewards or prizes in return.  He says he is content that his example of dedication and self-empowerment as a

principal will serve as an example to other school principals.

Budhal says what he enjoys about teaching is assisting learners with barriers to learning by providing the most appropriate remediation to deal with learning deficits. He says the success of the current education system lies in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of all personnel involved in education, who should work as a collective and with common vision. 

Typical challenges his school faces include limited resources, which he addresses by forming relationships with business partners and donors. He also ensures his teachers’ morale is always high so that they can be effective in the classroom and thus benefit the learners. He says young teachers should empower themselves through on-going professional development.

Excellence in Lifetime Achievement Award

1st runner-up: Jeremiah Casper Combrink

Oom Paul Special School, North West

Jeremiah Casper Combrink is counted among the long-serving teachers, having been in the profession for 37 years. He is about to retire, but he says if he were to be given another chance in his next life, he would gladly serve the nation again as a teacher. 

Combrink says he is proud about being a runner-up in the prestigious category of the awards, particularly as it is named after respected icon and leader Professor Kader Asmal. 

He says what he enjoys the most about teaching is his passion about management and desire to bring change and impact lives, particularly those of the special needs learners. He says what he likes most about teaching is to see how children grow and achieve victory for the first time. 

He is now the school principal, but he says when he was still involved with the learners, he used strategies that enabled him to connect and interact closely with the learners. These included displaying love to the learners, encouraging them to work hard, showing respect and empathy and building real and strong relationships with each one of them.  

The biggest problem faced by special needs schools is the fact that officials of the department of education do not really understand all the different categories of these schools. “There is an urgent need for an inclusive division with its own subject advisors and other related personnel. We need people who are capable of intervening and supporting these schools,” advises Combrink.

To help navigate some of these problems, Combrink relies on his lengthy teaching experience. He says he serves on more than one task team, knows every learner and teacher in his school, and does the best that he can for them. 

Excellence in Lifetime Achievement award

2nd runner-up: Shonisani Alfred Mafukaduvha

Mudimeli Secondary School, Limpopo 

Shonisani Alfred Mafukaduvha says his pastor, who was also his private tutor, advised him to take teaching up as a career, because he was brilliant in class, always obtaining first position. He heeded the advice and since 1986, Mafukaduvha has been part of the noble profession of teaching.

He says being announced as the runner-up in this category felt like a dream. “The joy in my heart could not be comprehended. As a man from a village, being part of such a high profile event seemed impossible to me. It was such a fulfilling feeling, because this is what I always wanted.” Now, more people will look up to him, and he has to be exemplary for them. 

Mafukaduvha says the best part of teaching is the interaction with learners and parents from different backgrounds. Since he started teaching, many of his former pupils have become medical and academic doctors, while others occupy positions of influence in society, government and the private sector. He says the country’s education system will perform better if learners are taught critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and apply what they learn in class to their real-life situations. 

As a leader of a school serving a village, he faces serious resource challenges — mainly electricity, a library and other basic infrastructure. The high level of unemployment is also a big problem. But Mafukaduvha says despite these odds, the teachers, parents and himself are all determined to do their best, as education is a way in which learners from the area can escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

National Best Teacher

Winner: Dr Mariëtte Wheeler

Protea Heights Academy, Western Cape

Dr Mariëtte Wheeler is the inaugural winner of this new category, which the department of education introduced this year as part of celebrating the 21st edition of the teaching awards. The category honours the best teachers or school leaders who will represent South Africa in the Global Teacher Prize, which is presented annually to a teacher who has exceptionally contributed to the profession. 

Wheeler says the awards came at an opportune time to lift the spirit of teachers who were demoralised by the Covid-19 pandemic. “To me personally it means that I have a platform to speak about issues important to me such as marine science, nature conservation and enhanced climate change.” 

She holds a PhD in environmental studies and started her teaching career in 2016 after completing her PGCE at UCT. She says what she likes most about teaching is the relationships she has with learners. “It is very rewarding to help a learner understand a concept and then to see the ‘aha’ moment when he or she clearly grasps the concept.”

To stimulate learners’ interests, Wheeler taps into the power of technology using PowerPoint and video clips. Some of the problems she encounters include keeping learners focused on their school work in the face of the disruptive impact of social media, and  providing meals to identified learners from needy families. 

As a member of the Green Society, she has introduced a hydroponic system, which produces a variety of vegetables that are donated to the needy in the community. 

Excellence in Grade R Teaching

Winner: Nneheng Thamae

Meqheleng Primary School, Free State

Nneheng Thamae is one of the many young people who are joining the teaching profession. Winning the NTA category ahead of the experienced teachers shows what she is capable of, just five years after joining the profession.

“It feels like a dream — I actually slept with my medal beside my pillow after winning,” says Thamae. She says when she looks back and thinks about the strict selection process, it seemed impossible for her to make a podium finish. 

What excites her as a teacher is to witness children’s progress from not knowing how to write to fully understanding what they read and knowing how to spell and write clearly. “Knowing that I am the reason behind their success gives me inner joy,” says Thamae.

She says grade R learners need to be constantly engaged and stimulated and she delivers her lessons through fun and play. She also uses cartoons, videos and slides as well as playing with the children during outdoor sessions. 

One of the most common challenges she confronts is the fact that the majority of children in her class live with their grandparents and don’t do their homework because their caregivers are illiterate and unable to assist them. In addition, due to high unemployment, most children attend school with improper uniforms and are also hungry.

Thamae intervenes, sometimes using her own money, but fortunately, the school has a feeding scheme and with the help of Tiger Brands they are able to provide breakfast and food parcels to needy learners. As for the uniform, Thamae asks parents of previous learners to donate clothes. 

“Please know, once a teacher, always a learner, meaning as we teach them we also learn from them,” advises Thamae. 

2nd runner-up: Adell Lebabo 

Moremogolo Primary School, North West

For Adell Lebabo, being part of the awards was like a dream coming true. “I feel really honoured to be recognised for doing what I love the most.  I am proud that my school is receiving the recognition it deserves.”   

Lebabo, who has eight years teaching experience, says what attracted to the profession is her natural love for children. She was able to train as a teacher thanks to the Royal Bafokeng Teaching Bursary Scheme.

As a grade R teacher, Lebabo says she always ensures her lessons are fun, creative, stimulating, engaging and that they help the kids to be creative and imaginative. 

“I also use some elements of the 4IR in my lesson in order to keep learners engaged, as they enjoy playing educational games,” says Lebabo. She says one of the challenges her school encounters is lack of parental involvement in their children’s school activities. Some of the learners, especially from disadvantaged communities, miss school due to problems such as not having money for transport and other basic necessities. 

To help resolve the challenges, Lebabol visits homes to engage with and encourages parents to get involved in their learners’ school work. She also emphasises the significance of the collaboration between teachers, parents and learners. Lebabo also helps to raise funds and enlists the support of other different stakeholders to support needy learners. 

“Teaching grade R needs someone with a love for kids, and you need to be energetic and creative in order to make your lessons interesting,” she says.

3rd runner-up: Cecilia de Vries

Langebaanweg Primary School, Western Cape

Excellence in Primary School Teaching

Winner: Anneke Richter

Laerskool Proteapark, North West

Anneke Richer says it has not sunk in yet that she has won the excellence in primary school teaching category. “I am very honoured and still have to pinch myself. As a teacher by calling, I never started teaching for any rewards, but being rewarded is such a privilege and a motivation.”  

Richter says the awards empowered and gave her a new drive and enthusiasm, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. She says she wants to use this award to inspire her colleagues. 

She has 10 years’ of teaching experience and a B.Com Chartered Accounting degree, but says of all the success she achieved as an accountant, nothing comes close to teaching. The “realness of children” excites her the most.  

To stimulate participation from learners, she teaches through play, turns the classroom into a colourful learning space, uses flexible seating plans and dresses up in a blue wig when teaching new concepts.  

Richter says the biggest challenge she faces is the short time she has to teach, comfort, influence and impact. She says she started her own YouTube channel and also uses technology and video recordings to engage with her learners.  

Her message to other teachers? “Never forget why you started this career. It was not for the money and it was not for fame. This career you chose was for one reason only: to bring change, to bring hope and to bring light. I believe a teacher needs to serve. You need to be dedicated to your career and calling.”

1st runner-up: Tebogo Terence Molepo

Kgwadu Primary School, Limpopo

Tebogo Terence Molepo says ever since his schooling days he has always dreamed of becoming a teacher. “This is what makes me wake up every morning with energy to face the new day. I love teaching,” says Molepo. 

He says being a runner-up in the prestigious NTA will boost his personal and professional profile, adding that it will also put the name of his school on the map. More importantly, the award will serve as a motivation to other young educators to work hard and to keep on chasing their dreams. 

Molepo says what he likes about teaching is that, in as much as he teaches them he is also learning one or two things from them. He says through teaching he also gets to work with young innovative and 21st century educators toward the attainment of vision 2030 and beyond. 

In terms of how he stimulates and engages with his learners, Molepo says he uses the latest technology platforms to teach them concepts in specific learning areas. He says these help the learners to develop their creativity and it also enhances their critical thinking skills. 

The main problems that Molepo’s school faces are poor ICT infrastructure and lack of classrooms. Molepo’s message to his young colleagues is that they should see themselves as change agents; they must be innovative and creative and be good role models who are worthy of emulation. 

2nd runner-up: Nolunthando Thembile Nkosi

Sangweni Primary School, KZN

Excellence in Primary School Leadership 

Winner: Phillip Serokolo Mphahlele

Kloof View Primary School, North West

Phillip Seokolo Mphahlele has contributed 26 years of loyal service to the profession. “There is no other profession that I look up to except teaching, and it is a blessing,” says Mphahlele. He says winning the category is a great achievement considering it is the first time for him since the awards were started 21 years ago. Mphahlele credits Dorothy Masilo (winner of this year’s Kader Asmal category) and Jenny Nel, who nagged and begged him to enter the competition. 

He says the win is recognition of the work that he and his team have been doing for the past 15 years. He is ecstatic, though the achievement is not for him alone but for his team and the school. “The feeling is indescribable.” 

Excellence in teaching mathematics (FET)

Mphahlele says what he enjoys the most about teaching is the love he has developed for learners, interaction with his management team and the supportive school governing body members. He says they always ensure they resolve any challenge they face quickly to avoid negativity. 

Mphahlele says he also ensures that the school’s budget allocates a specific amount of money to deal with teachers’ development programmes. His advice to teachers who yearn to become school leaders is: “Work hard and plan ahead, and the rest will sort itself out. It takes a great leader to be led before leading others.” 

1st runner-up: Anthea Williams

Dorothea Special Skills School, Western Cape 

Winner: Onkarabetse Albert Mohitlhi 

Joseph Saku Secondary School, North West

1st runner-up: Matsentshe William Mathipa

Florapark Comprehensive High School, Limpopo

Matsentshe Mathipa is a maths genius, one of a rare breed of teachers who are trying to cultivate a love for maths among their learners. He says being honoured by the minister of basic education herself for winning the category is an enormous achievement of his career. 

Mathipa says mathematics depends on one’s attitude and requires focus and love for the subject. “I once saw a video of some teacher from KwaZulu-Natal who was teaching his learners maths using a song. I was intrigued and decided to adopt singing during my classes.” He also threw in a bit of drama to tackle some of the maths concepts and the response was phenomenal. Since then no learner has missed his class. It is not only their excitement that pleases him, but their performance has also improved markedly. 

He is involved in a number of mentorship programmes; one outfit is called Young Pioneers, which grooms aspiring and practising educators. He is also the deputy director of the Teasterl projects, an organisation that promotes shoestring teaching, ICT integration and career guidance in schools. 

But he says this cannot be realised if there are no good and qualified maths teachers. His message to his fellow educators is: “When you are given a space to impact a life, do it to the best of your ability; never leave any stone unturned. Aspire to inspire before you expire — time is of the essence.” 

2nd runner-up: Thulani Sibiya

Shinyukane Secondary School, Mpumalanga

Excellence in teaching Physical Science

Winner: Awonke Tshefu

Unicom Agricultural Secondary School, Free State

Awonke Tshefu is a grandson of a domestic worker and a gardener who used their meagre earnings to put him through school. It is an experience he always shares with his learners — not to allow their situation to determine their future. 

Tshefu says he believes in the advancement of an individual, and that education is the best tool to achieve this. “Education is a crucial mechanism for helping children to climb out of poverty,” he says. 

He says: “If we want to build a better life for all of which we so often speak and dream about, we will have to ensure that we have a highly educated and skilled population. We cannot be a competitive and winning nation in the modern world without education and training of the highest quality.”

He is a highly rated science expert, having achieved 100% in physical science for the past five consecutive years. He also produced the best physical science learner in the country in the 2020 NSC examinations. 

Tshefu says he finds joy when he sees his learners’ eyes brightening up with joy after they do well in their tests or examinations. He says one of the main challenges he faces at his school is the lack of resources. Tshefu says he will continue teaching with passion and vigour as well as tapping into a range of the latest technologies to enhance learning.

2nd runner-up: Danielle van Eck  

Protea Heights Academy, Western Cape

Excellence in Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning

Winner: Nkosinathi Wonderboy Mzobe

Deda Primary School, KZN

Nkosinathi Wonderboy Mzobe completed his grade 12 already knowing he wanted to become a teacher. In 2007 he enrolled for a teaching degree at Durban University of Technology and in 2011 he formally began teaching. He says he is excited because despite a lack of the appropriate technology he has managed to teach his learners how to use ICT.

“I am the first teacher in iLembe District KwaZulu Natal to win the NTA Award in ICT in South Africa. I have made history. I am proud of this achievement,” says Mzobe. He has a long list of people he dedicates the award to, including his subject advisors, lecturers, teachers and his late mother. 

Mzobe emphasises the importance of technology, saying it makes learners digitally literate, it automates assessment and saves time and makes it easy to communicate in real time with learners and colleagues. He uses gadgets such as digital projectors and YouTube videos to connect with his learners to explain content. Other applications he uses to teach include PowerPoint, Excel, Google Earth eBooks and his own YouTube channel. 

The challenges he faces relate to the lack of basic network infrastructure such as a computer lab and software to expose learners to coding and robotics. “I have no internet at school, so I use my phone to connect online and when the weather is bad, there is no network at all,” laments Mzobe.

1st runner-up: Nikki Potgieter

La Rochelle Girls’ Primary School, Western Cape

Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

Winner: Leuba Alfred Sokana

Sepoloko Secondary School, Limpopo 

Leuba Sokana says nothing beats the feeling of being crowned the number one teacher for the 21st National Teaching Awards, in the category excellence in secondary school teaching, by the minister of education Angie Motshekga, in the presence of the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. He says this will inspire him to continue with the hard work of teaching, mentoring, motivating and inspiring learners and colleagues. 

Sokana has been teaching for nine years. He registered for a PGCE diploma to qualify as a teacher after completing his Bachelor of Sciences degree. Sokana says he also has a natural affinity to work and connect with children, making his teaching job more enjoyable. What he enjoys the most about teaching is to help his learners reach their full potential. “Seeing learners obtain good results and success makes me enjoy my job.” 

He says he uses a variety of strategies to engage with his learners during lessons, and some of these include:

– involving them in the learning process,

– learners as the role player, with me there to facilitate 

– teaching them the way they want to be taught 

– educational excursions and connecting learning with field work

– real life application

Dealing with learners who misbehave and absenteeism feature as some of the challenges he faces quite often. To address them, Sokana involves parents and social workers, colleagues and members of the school governing body. His message to fellow teachers is that: “Place doesn’t make the person you are but you can make the place respect the person you have become. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can make a difference.” 

Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

1st runner-up: Mpho Augustinah Mokoena

Sakhisizwe Secondary School, KZN

Mpho Mokoena says teaching never featured on her bucket list of career choices. After she completed her BCom degree, Mokoena struggled to find a job and she decided to apply for a PGCE. Upon entering the profession she soon realised that teaching was her calling. 

Mokoena says the NTAs have taken her career to another level. Not only is she the envy of her peers, but principals of neighbouring schools try to lure her to their schools. She feels the awards are her personal positive reinforcement and have equipped and motivated her to work even harder. 

Mokoena says she likes the bond she has created with her learners: “Seeing them being educated and financially independent is what makes me wake up every day with a feeling of contentment, and this strengthens my passion for the profession.”

Mokoena uses different strategies to energise her learners during lessons. Firstly, she makes use of excursions and links them to specific challenging chapters in real-life situations. Secondly, she makes use of the “preach and practice” approach, where her learners take what they learned in class and apply it in the outside world. Thirdly, she always involves them in different business, commerce and management competitions such as financial literacy speeches, the South African Reserve Bank challenge and the National High School Olympiads for Business Studies and Economics. 

Mokoena’s school is based in a deep rural area in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, and this presents a number of challenges, such as poor  infrastructure, lack of water and electricity, poverty, child-headed families and a high crime rate. To deal with these challenges, Mokoena tries to have one-on-one sessions with the learners and the parents to get a better understanding of their situations and how she can help them. 

2nd runner-up:  Stembele Matotie

St John’s College, Eastern Cape

Stembele Matoti has an unbroken 30 years of service in the teaching profession. He is a geography teacher and the head of the department for that subject. Ever since he taught the subject he has consistently produced a 100% pass rate and the most level seven passes in geography for grade 12 classes. This includes last year, despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Matotie says to be called to the podium as one of the recipients of the coveted NTAs, despite coming from an unknown rural part of the Eastern Cape, is a powerful statement. “It means there is something right in what I am doing. I hope it translates to motivating more youths to take up teaching as a career of choice,” says Matotie. 

He says he always wanted to make a positive contribution to the community. “I have always believed that, with good education, realising one’s potential is within reach,” adds Matotie. His love for teaching was inspired by his geography teachers, all of whom were true role models; from then on, he imagined himself as a teacher. 

Matotie says what he finds fulfilling is to see a new group of learners every year grow and mature into global citizens armed with the necessary skills to navigate the 21st century’s challenges. “I really enjoy the sight of a learner understanding a concept that seemed abstract at first,” he says.

Matotie says he has always seen education as a tool to mould and instil values of discipline into children. He believes strongly that education should be about meaningful engagement and participation of learners. 

Matotie says one of the challenges he often comes across are fellow educators who do not apply themselves and deviate from their job description. His message is that the new crop of teachers can help the department of basic education to restore education to its former glory; this can be achieved if they display passion for their profession and work diligently. 

Excellence in Secondary School Leadership

Winner: Renate van der Westhuizen

Apex High School, Eerste River, Western Cape

Renate van der Westhuizen became a teacher by sheer chance; once the teaching bug bit her she has never looked back, and today she is one of the admired leaders of her school. 

For her, winning this category represents a culmination of a long journey epitomised by hard work and commitment. “I feel honoured and humbled,” she says, adding that this is also an indication that “what we are doing at Apex is actually working and that instructional leadership is a model that can actually change education”. 

Van der Westhuizen, who started her career 14 years ago, says she was inspired by her late school principal, who subscribed to very high ethical standards; she was disciplined and did not tolerate any mediocrity. 

She says she gets satisfaction when she sees her learners grow and succeed, and when she develops her staff. But she says what she enjoys the most is to be part of a school that will show the rest of South Africa that it is possible to be a no-fee school and provide an excellent education — one marked by high values, achievement and discipline.

As a leader she tries all she can to ensure her community pulls in one direction. She says she sees herself as an instructional leader and bases this on seven levers. These include: 

– Data-driven instruction

– Instructional planning 

– Observation and feedback 

– Professional development 

– Student culture 

– Staff culture 

– Managing school leadership teams.

Van der Westhuizen says they always struggle to find competent teachers who are mission-aligned, so that their learners can produce the same results as the top schools in South Africa. But she vows they will lower their recruitment standards as a way of resolving the problem. She advises new teachers to remember that they are not only impacting the lives of a few children, but the future of an entire nation. 

1st runner-up: Thembi Phillinah Vilakazi

KwaZamokuhle Secondary School, Mpumalanga

Thembi Vilakazi has 36 years’ teaching experience and has shaped the lives of many learners, most of whom are now leaders in their various spheres of life.

Being recognised for this category is a testament of her contribution, not only to her school but to NSC examinations. 

Tshefu says he finds joy when he sees his learners’ eyes brightening up with joy after they do well in their tests or examinations. He says one of the main challenges he faces at his school is the lack of resources. Tshefu says he will continue teaching with passion and vigour as well as tapping into a range of the latest technologies to enhance learning.

2nd runner-up: Danielle van Eck 

Protea Heights Academy, Western Cape

Excellence in Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning

Winner: Nkosinathi Wonderboy Mzobe

Deda Primary School, KZN

Nkosinathi Wonderboy Mzobe completed his grade 12 already knowing he wanted to become a teacher. In 2007 he enrolled for a teaching degree at Durban University of Technology and in 2011 he formally began teaching. He says he is excited because despite a lack of the appropriate technology he has managed to teach his learners how to use ICT.

“I am the first teacher in iLembe District KwaZulu Natal to win the NTA Award in ICT in South Africa. I have made history. I am proud of this achievement,” says Mzobe. He has a long list of people he dedicates the award to, including his subject advisors, lecturers, teachers and his late mother. 

Mzobe emphasises the importance of technology, saying it makes learners digitally literate, it automates assessment and saves time and makes it easy to communicate in real time with learners and colleagues. He uses gadgets such as digital projectors and YouTube videos to connect with his learners to explain content. Other applications he uses to teach include PowerPoint, Excel, Google Earth eBooks and his own YouTube channel. 

The challenges he faces relate to the lack of basic network infrastructure such as a computer lab and software to expose learners to coding and robotics. “I have no internet at school, so I use my phone to connect online and when the weather is bad, there is no network at all,” laments Mzobe.

1st runner-up: Nikki Potgieter

La Rochelle Girls’ Primary School, Western Cape

Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

Winner: Leuba Alfred Sokana

Sepoloko Secondary School, Limpopo 

Leuba Sokana says nothing beats the feeling of being crowned the number one teacher for the 21st National Teaching Awards, in the category excellence in secondary school teaching, by the minister of education Angie Motshekga, in the presence of the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. He says this will inspire him to continue with the hard work of teaching, mentoring, motivating and inspiring learners and colleagues. 

Sokana has been teaching for nine years. He registered for a PGCE diploma to qualify as a teacher after completing his Bachelor of Sciences degree. Sokana says he also has a natural affinity to work and connect with children, making his teaching job more enjoyable. What he enjoys the most about teaching is to help his learners reach their full potential. “Seeing learners obtain good results and success makes me enjoy my job.” 

He says he uses a variety of strategies to engage with his learners during lessons, and some of these include:

– involving them in the learning process,

– learners as the role player, with me there to facilitate 

– teaching them the way they want to be taught 

– educational excursions and connecting learning with field work

– real life application

Dealing with learners who misbehave and absenteeism feature as some of the challenges he faces quite often. To address them, Sokana involves parents and social workers, colleagues and members of the school governing body. His message to fellow teachers is that: “Place doesn’t make the person you are but you can make the place respect the person you have become. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can make a difference.” 

Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

1st runner-up: Mpho Augustinah Mokoena

Sakhisizwe Secondary School, KZN

Mpho Mokoena says teaching never featured on her bucket list of career choices. After she completed her BCom degree, Mokoena struggled to find a job and she decided to apply for a PGCE. Upon entering the profession she soon realised that teaching was her calling. 

Mokoena says the NTAs have taken her career to another level. Not only is she the envy of her peers, but principals of neighbouring schools try to lure her to their schools. She feels the awards are her personal positive reinforcement and have equipped and motivated her to work even harder. 

Mokoena says she likes the bond she has created with her learners: “Seeing them being educated and financially independent is what makes me wake up every day with a feeling of contentment, and this strengthens my passion for the profession.”

Mokoena uses different strategies to energise her learners during lessons. Firstly, she makes use of excursions and links them to specific challenging chapters in real-life situations. Secondly, she makes use of the “preach and practice” approach, where her learners take what they learned in class and apply it in the outside world. Thirdly, she always involves them in different business, commerce and management competitions such as financial literacy speeches, the South African Reserve Bank challenge and the National High School Olympiads for Business Studies and Economics. 

Mokoena’s school is based in a deep rural area in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, and this presents a number of challenges, such as poor  infrastructure, lack of water and electricity, poverty, child-headed families and a high crime rate. To deal with these challenges, Mokoena tries to have one-on-one sessions with the learners and the parents to get a better understanding of their situations and how she can help them. 

2nd runner-up:  Stembele Matotie

St John’s College, Eastern Cape

Stembele Matoti has an unbroken 30 years of service in the teaching profession. He is a geography teacher and the head of the department for that subject. Ever since he taught the subject he has consistently produced a 100% pass rate and the most level seven passes in geography for grade 12 classes. This includes last year, despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Matotie says to be called to the podium as one of the recipients of the coveted NTAs, despite coming from an unknown rural part of the Eastern Cape, is a powerful statement. “It means there is something right in what I am doing. I hope it translates to motivating more youths to take up teaching as a career of choice,” says Matotie. 

He says he always wanted to make a positive contribution to the community. “I have always believed that, with good education, realising one’s potential is within reach,” adds Matotie. His love for teaching was inspired by his geography teachers, all of whom were true role models; from then on, he imagined himself as a teacher. 

Matotie says what he finds fulfilling is to see a new group of learners every year grow and mature into global citizens armed with the necessary skills to navigate the 21st century’s challenges. “I really enjoy the sight of a learner understanding a concept that seemed abstract at first,” he says.

Matotie says he has always seen education as a tool to mould and instil values of discipline into children. He believes strongly that education should be about meaningful engagement and participation of learners. 

Matotie says one of the challenges he often comes across are fellow educators who do not apply themselves and deviate from their job description. His message is that the new crop of teachers can help the department of basic education to restore education to its former glory; this can be achieved if they display passion for their profession and work diligently. 

Excellence in Secondary School Leadership

Winner: Renate van der Westhuizen

Apex High School, Eerste River, Western Cape

Renate van der Westhuizen became a teacher by sheer chance; once the teaching bug bit her she has never looked back, and today she is one of the admired leaders of her school. 

For her, winning this category represents a culmination of a long journey epitomised by hard work and commitment. “I feel honoured and humbled,” she says, adding that this is also an indication that “what we are doing at Apex is actually working and that instructional leadership is a model that can actually change education”. 

Van der Westhuizen, who started her career 14 years ago, says she was inspired by her late school principal, who subscribed to very high ethical standards; she was disciplined and did not tolerate any mediocrity. 

She says she gets satisfaction when she sees her learners grow and succeed, and when she develops her staff. But she says what she enjoys the most is to be part of a school that will show the rest of South Africa that it is possible to be a no-fee school and provide an excellent education — one marked by high values, achievement and discipline.

As a leader she tries all she can to ensure her community pulls in one direction. She says she sees herself as an instructional leader and bases this on seven levers. These include: 

– Data-driven instruction

– Instructional planning 

– Observation and feedback 

– Professional development 

– Student culture 

– Staff culture 

– Managing school leadership teams.

Van der Westhuizen says they always struggle to find competent teachers who are mission-aligned, so that their learners can produce the same results as the top schools in South Africa. But she vows they will lower their recruitment standards as a way of resolving the problem. She advises new teachers to remember that they are not only impacting the lives of a few children, but the future of an entire nation. 

1st runner-up: Thembi Phillinah Vilakazi

KwaZamokuhle Secondary School, Mpumalanga

Thembi Vilakazi has 36 years’ teaching experience and has shaped the lives of many learners, most of whom are now leaders in their various spheres of life.

Being recognised for this category is a testament of her contribution, not only to her school but to education broadly. “I am ecstatic about winning and I view this as a challenge to do more. It’s quite overwhelming and it’s a milestone for me. This has also inspired me to inspire others,” says Vilakazi about the NTA. 

“Nation building and developing disadvantaged children is my anchor,” she says. Vilakazi derives satisfaction from seeing learners pursuing and achieving their goals in life and impacting lives where they come from. 

As the principal her main priority is to ensure the school functions properly and that every member of the school community steps up. She describes her leadership style as one that is open and transparent. “I accommodate all types of characters, I am firm but not biased and I treat everyone equally. I have a strong backbone and can be in anyone’s shoes. I am also participative.”

She says her school is faced with a number of challenges ranging from learners who abuse drugs, to teenage pregnancy, to educators who do not give their all. She says she uses the problems as stepping stones and a platform to conduct research on how best to deal with them, adding she learns from each and every challenge she faces — they sharpen her to be a better leader. 

Vilakazi says aspirant teachers should work hard and enjoy their work rather than be motivated by incentives. They should leave a mark on everything they do and impact every learner they teach.

2nd runner-up: Jerry Bongane Mokoena

Kgolathuto Secondary, Free State

Jerry Bongane Mokoena became a teacher when he was voluntarily tutoring learners at one of the schools in his community. At the time he was studying for a BSc degree at university. In 2010 he formally started teaching and quickly rose through the ranks to become head of the school.

Mokoena says he was excited to be nominated for the awards, but winning the category came as a complete surprise. But he also feels he deserved the accolade, because he works hard and has achieved a lot for his school. Covid-19 tested his leadership, as he had to motivate and convince his staff and learners to continue to learn and teach. 

Mokoena says his mission is to motivate and assist those who have dropped out to come back and continue with their studies. He says what inspires him is working with young minds and helping youths to realise their dreams as well as assisting those who have lost hope due to their difficult circumstances. 

As a leader Mokoena believes in engaging and partnering with all key role players and getting their buy-in in decision making. He also makes sure he deals with issues in a transparent and fair manner to avoid divisions. He accommodates and protects the vulnerable to make sure they feel valued and appreciated. 

Mokoena’s school serves the economically underprivileged communities in the rural Free State, where there are challenges such as gender-based violence, child-headed families, learners with HIV and other poverty related diseases. To resolve them, Mokoena tries to mobilise resources internally, as well as soliciting support from the district, the private sector and experts from various government departments. 

Excellence in Special Needs Teaching

Winner: Jevonn Cloete

Rusthof LSEN School, Strand, Western Cape

It is not often that an ambitious and starry-eyed person chooses teaching as a career — particularly for teaching disabled children. Jevonn Cloete is certainly among the first to blaze this trail. His mind was already made up to study for an MBChB degree at university, and he has been teaching for five years.   

A single incident changed his life; during a brief absence of his maths teacher, Cloete quickly stepped in and continued teaching. When the teacher returned, she sat on his desk and observed the lesson. When Cloete was done, the class gave a spontaneous round of applause, admiring the way he handled matters. He then swapped the MBChB with a B.Ed degree. 

Cloete says the award opens new doors and opportunities for him to grow academically, and it is also a credit for his hard work in developing a group of vulnerable learners to the best of their abilities. 

What excites him the most is being an agent of change, in particular when it comes to changing society’s perception about children with intellectual disabilities. He says he keeps on pushing his learners to reach their potential, irrespective of their limitations. 

Special needs education requires patient and committed teachers and Cloete says the best strategy he uses to teach his learners is “context teaching”. This means teaching to the personal understanding and social backgrounds of these learners. He says he also tweaks and adapts learning and teaching strategies to meet the needs of every individual learner effectively. His learners are always productively engaged through involvement in energisers, warm-ups, interactive lessons and play-based learning. 

Cloete is worried about the lack of parental involvement, and this is mainly because of their socioeconomic situation. The other problem is that intellectually disabled learners have limited job opportunities when they leave school. To address these challenges, Cloete visits the homes of learners’ parents to build good relationships and get involved in addressing the learners’ needs. He also networks with strategic partners such as business to employ learners in apprentices and workshops after their schooling years. 

Cloete’s message to young people interested in teaching special needs children is: “Teach the learners you have. Not the ones you had. Not the ones you would like to have. The ones you have right now. All of them. If you have the opportunity to change one life of the many lives that you have touched in your career as a teacher, do just that.” 

1st runner-up: Nicolien Otto

Tsakane Special School, Mpumalanga

Nicolien Otto is eternally grateful to Marieta Cronje, the nursery school principal who persuaded her to switch from her financial secretary job to teaching. To this day she does not regret the decision to follow in her footsteps, and she was lucky enough to receive a bursary to do her foundation degree. 

Otto says the award will contribute immensely to her professional growth and it will certainly make an important addition to her CV. 

To date Otto has contributed 10 years’ of service to the profession. Three of these were spent in special needs teaching, and she has decided that this is where she wants to be. She says what fulfils her is to see herself making a difference in the lives of learners; to see the joy and pride on their faces when they finally get something right. 

She says special needs children are a unique breed of learners who need to be treated with respect and utmost care. To stimulate their interest during lessons, Otto tries various ways until she finds a way to reach each learner. She also uses differentiation when presenting lessons, including different senses for them to hear, see, feel and move. “I love including movement into lessons, as this also helps learners with learning barriers to focus better,” says Otto. 

She says her school faces a number of challenges, the biggest one being the language barrier, as the English knowledge of learners is poor. She has to use a teaching assistant to translate, and this is time-consuming. The other challenge is lack of financial resources to secure vital equipment such as a jump pit, shot put balls and javelins. They also have no Wi-Fi or white boards to include technology in the classes. 

To the special needs hopeful teachers, Otto advises that they should be open to learning along the way, and one should understand that you can never have enough knowledge! Use different approaches to teach each pupil, as everyone is different. Inspire and be inspired! You can make a difference.

2nd runner-up: Willem Combrink 

Janie Schneider Special School, Mpumalanga

Excellence in Special Needs Teaching 

2nd runner-up: Willie Combrink

Janie Schneider Special School, Mpumulanga

Willie Combrink says he wanted to become a sport scientist but after he completed a degree in human movement science and psychology, he decided to do a PGCE. After a few interactions with kids, he knew teaching was for him; he wanted to inspire the young ones on a full-time basis.

He says he feels honoured to receive the NTA accolade for what God has called him to do. “I never never want my name to be known, but His. So, it wasn’t me receiving the award, but God alone,” says Combrink.

He says the award is not about him. “I am not doing this for recognition. I am doing this because I love children and our public schools are not up to standard, and I am trying to make our school a place where disabled learners can grow and be loved.”

Combrink says he engages learners and one technique is using real world situations and technology. “Bring the learner’s world into the classroom and make it as practical as possible. Humour is also the other tool I use. I am a clown in my class and that makes teaching fun and interesting,” says Combrink. 

“When I look around, I see a lot of teachers who settle for mediocrity. The salary at the end of the month is the only reason they stay as teachers,” says Combrink. He says this has a huge negative impact on the children, as they witness their supposed role models behave in a manner that is not exemplary.

He says young teachers who would like to teach special needs learners must know that the most important lesson is to face your fears. “Trust in God; he has put you in your position to make a difference and never settle for mediocrity. We live in a society where mediocrity is the standard. You must aim to be an excellent teacher,” advises Combrink.

Excellence in Primary School Teaching

2nd runner-up

Noluthando Thembile Nkosi

Noluthando Thembile Nkosi was inspired by her natural sciences teacher, who had a way of making learning a fun experience. At school she was always ahead of her peers and her teacher would give her an opportunity to facilitate classes to help her classmates in biology and analysis of English poetry. Today Nkosi is a proud and qualified teacher with 10 years of service.

She says what she likes about her job is being in class engaging with her learners and seeing them trying to figure out things on their own. She also enjoys helping them discover their worth and ability to form their own opinions about the world around them. 

Nkosi says it has been her resolution to enter the NTA and share what she does at her school with her fellow educators. “I’m so excited that I went as far as the national level. I’m over the moon,” she says. She says this serves as a motivation for her to keep doing what she does and go beyond the call of duty. 

Nkosi uses blended and learner-centred approaches to make learning meaningful. She also makes learning fun and interactive by creating competitions and games. One of the main challenges she encounters as an intermediate teacher is the high number of learners who struggle with literacy and numeracy. To address the challenge, Nkosi has established a reading club, and she also holds remedial extra classes to assist learners with phonics and writing skills. 

Her message to young teachers who have just entered the profession is: “Grab all opportunities you get to develop yourself professionally. Excel in what you do, even if nobody notices; always do your best and never lose heart.” 

Excellence in Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning

1st runner-up: Nikki Potgieter

La Rochelle Girls’ Primary School, Western Cape

Nikki Potgieter’s stock reply to a question why she became an educator is: “Be the teacher you needed when you were 12.” She says she is privileged to be taught by outstanding and passionate teachers who made a huge difference in the lives of their learners. For the past 13 years, Potgieter has been teaching grade English and social sciences. 

She says being chosen as the national runner-up is a privilege; it is a tremendous opportunity and an ideal platform from which to grow and move forward. 

Potgieter believes being a teacher is a tremendous responsibility. “The monument that can be built for teachers is not the hours they put in, but the sense of fulfilment and the knowledge that there are hundreds of people whose lives you have impacted.” 

Potgieter uses ICT as an instrument to accommodate learners who do not fit the mould, empower those who face an uphill battle, and for meaningful engagement with her learners. Her favourite teaching model is the RIDE (research, investigate, discuss, evaluate) approach. She also creates digital games and class challenges, as well as interactive videos and maps. 

Her school caters for both middle-class learners and those from impoverished backgrounds — the challenge is how to creatively bridge this gap. Some of the innovative solutions the school came up with include creating online tools and resources that can be shared and accessed on multiple devices and platforms. Another one is collaboration with the schools in the community. Potgieter has started a coding club, which includes learners from nearby communities. 

1st runner-up: Danielle van Eck

Excellence in Teaching Physical Science

Protea Heights Academy, Western Cape

Danielle van Eck says the first time she felt teaching was her strength was during her days at the Stellenbosch University, where she used to tutor individual students who struggled with some aspects of their academic work. “There was no greater feeling than the moment a student understood a concept and you have transferred the knowledge you have to someone else,” she says. 

Van Eck says the award will motivate her to continue providing quality education in science. She is looking to partner more actively with schools to create an environment where learners across schools can share ideas and take part in competitions. What she enjoys passionately is being innovative and inspiring young minds to hone their problem-solving skills.

Her teaching approach is to always strive to engage learners through active participation. To achieve this she makes use of various simulations or practical demonstrations because she believes these assist learners to enhance their understanding of key concepts and also boosts their confidence in the subject.

Van Eck says the major challenge at her school is lack of buy-in from other schools to take part in projects, from the learners and sometimes colleagues. Another major challenge is funding and she has to be innovative, particularly when it comes to soliciting sponsorship for the programmes she runs. 

She likes to remind herself that there will always be another learner who will require assistance and might not have anyone else who they can count on. “This is my driving force, and I strive to empower my learners as much as possible.”

1st runner-up: Mark Matthee

Primary School Leadership

Graskop Primary School, Mpumalanga

Mark Matthee says he briefly doubted if teaching was for him and he left teaching for six months in his early twenties. But he quickly realised that teaching was a calling for him, and today he has 23 years’ of teaching experience. His parents and former principals also played a role in nudging him to return to teaching.

Matthee says he is very proud of his runner-up place in the NTA category. “It is important, as my peers can see the amount of work I put in to make our school successful. It also instills confidence in our parents, as they can see that I am continuously developing myself as the leader of the school.” 

Matthee believes in empowering and developing his staff members. As a school leader, he sees himself as an exceptional motivator and systems creator.  “When the community believes in the school, our programmes and systems flow easily,” he says.  

He says one of the challenges that he encounters as a leader is uninvolved parents. He says some learners are struggling and need guidance not only from educators but from their parents as well. In many cases, such learners become a challenge to teach. To navigate these challenges they have a school-based support team that helps learners with learning barriers or who have social needs.  

“We have a food parcel programme to assist families that are desperately in need,” he says.  “In addition, we have a behaviour facilitator employed on a full-time basis, whose specific task is to assist with social issues and learners with behavioural challenges.”

Excellence in Teaching Mathematics in FET

Winner: Onkabetse Albert Mohitlhi

Onkabetse Albert Mohitlhi says the country does not have enough maths teachers. His passion for maths and the desire to change the lives of learners made him choose teaching. His former maths teacher, who is his colleague today, also inspired him with his unique style of teaching maths. 

Mohithli says winning the category will motivate him to continue to be a ground-breaker and an agent for change to help achieve the NDP 2030 vision of ensuring learners pass gateway subjects by 50%. He says the accolade will also motivate him to share his best practices and knowledge with colleagues from other schools. 

Mohitlhi says coming to work every day to interact and impact the lives of the learners fulfils him. He uses the latest 4IR technologies to interact with his learners and cover the curriculum. He has a slot on TUT FM, where he tackles key maths concepts on air and assists grade 12 learners with revision. Mohitlhi has also created a Whatsapp group to communicate with both learners and parents remotely. Through this platform he is able to send assessment plans and dates.  

His main concern is that everyone thinks mathematics is a difficult subject and this leads to less learner participation; interest in the subject also wanes. Mohitlhi’s advice is that teachers should know their learners’ performance and use innovative teaching techniques to motivate and inspire.

Excellence in Primary School Leadership

2nd runner-up

Anthea Williams

Dorothea School of Skills, Western Cape

Anthea Williams says since she took over as the principal, her main mission is to become an ambassador for learners with special needs. She says it is her responsibility to sell hope to parents and assure them that their children have the potential to grow and develop to the best of their abilities. At Dorothea, says Williams, we assist in making learners an integral part of the community by means of partnerships with sheltered workshops and local businesses. 

Williams says about the NTA: “It made me realise that all my planning, organisation and outcomes of projects have not been in vain and there is still much more that I have to offer.” She says she could not have achieved the accolade without the amazing support she got from colleagues, family and friends. 

In 2019 her school received iPads and the E-beam accessibility tools, which allow learners to improve mathematics, perception, language, communication skills, and to be creative and regulate their behaviour. 

With 28 years’ teaching experience, she describes her leadership style as being inclusive; she focuses on the ability of every staff member and makes sure everyone is capable of performing their assigned tasks. She says as a leader she tries to adopt a dynamic and innovative approach. She has an open door policy, which enables her to work closely with her staff, parents and other key stakeholders. 

Excellence in Technology-enhanced Teaching 

2nd runner-up

Megan Izeboud 

Laerskool Barberton, Mpumalanga

Megan Izeboud is today one of the proudest teachers with a B.Ed degree from North-West University. She says she wanted to become the “teacher she never had; a teacher that encourages children to dream, and one who believes in her learners”.

She is grateful to her school for recognising her hard work and ultimately nominating her for the NTA. Izeboud says she could not have reached the national stage without the support provided by her mentors. 

As a teacher she enjoys interacting with her learners and also learning from them. In addition, she likes enabling learners to experience the world beyond where they live. 

Izeboud emphasises the importance of teaching technology as it equips learners with relevant technological skills that enables them to participate meaningfully in the global economy. “I want to use this platform to make other teachers aware of the importance of technology in our 21st-century classroom,” says Izeboud.

To energise her learners, Izeboud always tries to add some type of video, song or a game to the subject content. This enables learners to connect the pedagogy to their real life, she says. Some of the technologies Izeboud uses include: 

Online games like PhET Interactive Simulations to show the movement of molecules

Taking virtual field trips through Google Earth to learn about different habitats and continents

Music playlists on Spotify or Apple Music that I play during independent work that is related to subject content, for example space and planets

Videos on YouTube to show things that we cannot see in real time, like a seed germinating or changes of state in water. I also use resources like videos and songs that I find online to learn rhymes and dance moves related to the topic we are busy with.

She says she believes technology can help learners by making learning more engaging, creative and collaborative. 

Excellence in Grade R 

2nd runner-up: Cecilia de Vries

Langebaanweg Primary School, Western Cape

Cecilia de Vries says it has always been one of her dreams to make a difference in other people’s lives, particularly the little ones, and she feels that teaching is the profession best suited to fulfil this mission. 

With 19 years of teaching under her belt, De Vries says she “feels privileged and thankful that her hard work has been noticed by the department of education”. 

She says it is easy to interact closely with learners, because in grade R everything they do is based on play instead of worksheets. “The learners learn with concrete objects. They learn through their whole bodies and with all five senses.  Assessment takes an informal place.  I use the Stellar Program and R Maths with great success in my classroom,” says de Vries.

She says language barrier is a big problem in their school, as some learners’ home language is Xhosa. This makes communication with parents very difficult and the inability of the children to speak English also means these children cannot reach their full potential, as they cannot learn in their mother tongue. She says it is also difficult for their parents to provide adequate support to their children at home. 

To deal with the challenge, de Vries says she first needs to teach them English, which is a new language to them, before she can teach them new concepts. She teaches them the language using stories, songs and play techniques. 

Excellence in Teaching Physical Science

2nd runner-up : Amukelang Shirley Manganyi

Curtis Nkondo School of Specialisation, Gauteng

Amukelang Shirley Manganyi’s love for teaching dates back to her secondary school days. The person who really inspired her was her primary school maths teacher, who simplified concepts and topics in a way that made her class understand maths easily. She tries to adopt this simple yet effective teaching style so all her learners achieve their maximum potential. 

Manganyi says teaching maths and science is her life passion, and that it will never end. She has been teaching both subjects for 16 years. 

She says the most exciting time of her work is to see what she taught in class come alive in the laboratory. “I can immediately see when my learners understand, and my love of science grows. The best times are during experiments.” 

To generate interest and ensure her learners are constantly engaged, Manganyi starts all her lessons with what she calls “attention focus” to keep the learners alert for the rest of the period. She also introduces all physics topics with experiments, simulation or video and ensures the subject matter relates to the learners’ real-life situations. ”I put theory into practice,” she says.

Learners’ exposure to science is affected by their immediate surroundings and many have a poor grasp of the basics of science. To remedy this, Manganyi organises extra classes — on mornings, afternoons and weekends — from as early as January, to allow enough time for real intervention. 

About Mail & Guardian Sponsored Stories

The Mail & Guardian’s sponsored stories are produced in association with paying partners. If you would like to speak to our team about producing and publishing high quality content on our site, please contact us at this email address.

Related stories

Your M&G

Hi , To manage your account please click here.

You can access your digital copy of this week’s paper here.

Advertising

Today's top stories

The anomaly of Covid-19: Living in an in-between space

The coronavirus pandemic, and ensuing variants, mean we can’t make plans without the prospect of last-minute cancellations. But there’s precious little we can do about it

Protected Disclosures Act: How did whistleblowing law go wrong?

Current legislation mainly protects employees and those who make allegations anonymously and offers too little protection for witnesses

Covid-19 hospital admissions on the rise in Gauteng as fourth...

Most of the admissions are of unvaccinated and younger people, but there are fears of a spread to older people

South Africa Aids gains in danger as it grapples with...

Sex education will help prevent new HIV infections, expert says

I am not giving up, says rape survivor Jess Foord

Jes Foord told Lyse Comins that she believes she had to get the horrific ‘degree in rape’ so that she could help thousands of sexual violence victims through her nonprofit foundation
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

×