Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo, Dean of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Education, has been honoured with the prestigious Kader Asmal Leadership Runner-up Award at the National Teaching Awards held annually by the Department of Basic Education.
South Africa’s outstanding teachers who go beyond the call of duty were honoured at the awards at an event hosted at Gallagher Estate, in Johannesburg, on 27 February 2016. All nominees are nominated by educators, Department of Education district officials and Education MECs throughout the country.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the Deputy President, and Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, attended the awards, which recognise excellence and the outstanding contribution of teachers in enhancing the quality of teaching, as did provincial Education MECs.
The award recognises educators who, in their work, demonstrate the key values that were a hallmark of Professor Kader Asmal’s leadership – an educationand human rights activist who led by example, one who had a feel for social justice and took stands on issues, as well as one who demonstrated intellectual tenacity and creativity.
“To be recognised as a finalist is overwhelming, I am proud to be seen by the greater education fraternity as a leader who resembles some of Prof Kader Asmal’s traits. The award is recognition of what I have been trying to achieve throughout my life; the restoration of recognition and respect for educators and education. Secondly, the embodying of excellence: young teachers should know that the sky is not the limit, they can mould and shape people’s lives with their skills.
Lastly, I truly believe that teaching is a patriotic act; education development has been identified by government as an apex priority – for social development and social upliftment,” said Prof Mahlomaholo.
Prof Mahlomaholo saidthe faculty’s top priorities are afocus on education, recognising the need to improve the quality of education, skills and teacher training, as well as the development of teachers who are already in service, while also addressing issues such as the development and training of caregivers and TVET teachers who are skilled but lack formal qualifications. The faculty is currently working on a programme that will introduce the training of teachers of children aged 0-4.
Prof Mahlomaholo has produced 21 PhD and 31 Master’s students. “I get pleasure from interacting and teaching students, I look at my past students and I am filled with a sense of appreciation when I realise that I helped them become successful educators” said Prof Mahlomaholo.