Outstanding Education students honoured
The University of the Western Cape’s Faculty of Education hosted the Dean’s Merit Awards on Tuesday 26 April 2016 to honour outstanding students and to confer certificates in appreciation of their hard work.
Dean of Education, Professor Zubeida Desai and her PA, Ms Rhona Wales, co-ordinated the lovely event, which took place at the School of Public Health. It was a particularly special occasion for the Dean as it was the last such occasion she would officially preside over – Professor Desai recently turned 65 and will be retiring at the end of 2016, after a 10-year term as Dean. In her welcome address, she encouraged students to be passionate about teaching as teachers had the special privilege of influencing young people’s lives.
In this regard, she read from an email written to her by successful businessman, entrepreneur and visionary, Dr Athol Williams, someone she taught 30 years ago at Westridge High School in Mitchell’s Plain. Athol described her as ‘his most inspirational teacher’ in his soon to be published autobiography.
Guest speaker Dr Mauvia Gallie, respected education consultant and former Director of the South African Council for Educators, motivated the students to be as good at the schools where they will be placed as they have been at university.
“We have become comfortable with failure; we need teachers who will be change agents at their schools - teachers who will offer a different way of doing things.”
“You need to understand that your success is not linked to where you come from,” he told students. “Our education system needs you to change things around - you cannot have a wonderful qualification and not be a wonderful teacher. Turn your greatness at university into the advancement of the school you are placed at.”
Speaking on behalf of the UWC Executive, Professor Pamela Dube, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, said she hopes the students have made use of all the opportunities the University offers.
“Last year's student protest was a challenge,” she noted, “but also an opportunity for us as the Executive to reflect. As a University we want to ensure that platforms of engagements are there and that educators are able to guide the students; we want you to claim the space of opportunities in this University and strive to reshape it.”
Professor Dube touched on the Co-Curricular Record which will be launched on 5 May 2016 - a way of recognising students’ contributions and experiences in leadership outside of the lecture rooms.
The 75 awards were organised into the following categories: BEd; BEd in Languages and Life Orientation; BEd in Languages and Social Sciences; BEd in Languages and Mathematics; BEd in Mathematics and Natural Sciences; PGCE; BEd Honours; Postgraduate Diploma: Higher Education Studies Teaching and Learning; ACE: School Leadership; Advanced Diploma for Educators for Adults; Higher Diploma in ETD: Adult Learning; and the MEd.