12 September 2019 Volume :7 Issue :50

Graduate Overcomes Despite Adversity

Graduate Overcomes Despite Adversity
Dr Sphesihle Zuma graduated with a PhD in Education.

Tragedy and hardship dogged Dr Sphesihle Zuma during his studies but he persevered and was awarded a PhD in Education from UKZN following research he did on reimaging Moodle as an effective learning management system.

Zuma’s son died and his car was stolen but he soldiered on and became the first person in his family and community to be awarded a doctorate.

‘I have achieved my lifelong dream,’ said Zuma.

His research focused on reimaging Moodle as an effective learning management system through the experiences of geography lecturers at a South African university where Moodle met societal, discipline and personal needs.

Moodle was a platform for the lecturers to find and understand their discipline and societal identities in the teaching of geography. The platform helped them to position new Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) digital technologies within relevant theories.

Zuma believes Moodle can be used to cope with circumstances in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by government departments, particularly by the Department of Basic Education and Higher Education for solving curriculum challenges in South Africa. ‘Our curriculum is content and societal driven. We need to identify a curriculum whereby students are given wider opportunities to self-identify and explore using their uniqueness and individuality.’

Zuma thanked his family for being his support structure, especially his mother who was a huge source of inspiration. ‘She motivated me because she got her first diploma at the age of 50! Thank you to everyone who helped shape me into the person I am today.’

He had this advice for other students: ‘Have a vision and a plan. Understand yourself, your research and your community.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan

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