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Professor Desai retires after 28 years of service to UWC

Professor Desai retires after 28 years of service to UWC

In her 28 years of unbroken service to the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Salt River-born Zubeida Desai spent 11 years of her life heading up the Education Faculty and ensuring that the institution provides quality teacher education.

Professor Desai’s responsibilities as the Dean included overseeing what happens within the faculty - in terms of teaching, research and community outreach.

“I spent 43% of my life on earth at UWC, a place which encourages growth and development. Personally, I have grown tremendously (figuratively of course) at UWC where I was thrust into leadership roles fairly early in my academic career”, she adds.

This career-driven achiever says her new venture has been set out for the next three years, during which she will continue to supervise doctoral students and do research in early childhood literacy development in multilingual contexts.

“I will also be working on two books: one a memoir of my 40 years as a teacher and teacher educator, and the other a book on literacy development in young children. Of course, I will also see to it that I have more 'me' time to do the things I like such as going to the movies, reading novels, walking and just being - mindful.

Prof. Desai notes that it’s important that teachers are qualified and know the subjects they will be teaching; otherwise she would be performing a disservice to society and perpetuating the cycle of poor education in South Africa.

She describes her journey at UWC as an exhilarating, challenging, frustrating, fun and interesting one, and so much more.

Apart from Education and Language, Prof Desai has a passion for gender equality, which has lent weight to the establishment of the GEEP Project: Gender Equality, Education and Poverty in South Africa and Sudan.

“The project looked into what it’s like to be a young girl or boy in South Africa and Sudan and the respective challenges faced, examining what teachers in schools can do to help students to deal with issues such as gender violence”, she concludes.

Professor Desai leaves Professor Vuyokazi Nomlomo, who will to assume her responsibilities in January 2017, as the newly appointed Dean of Education.