Master’s in Education Graduates Salute their Supervisor
Four students, who graduated with Masters in Education degrees, paid tribute to their supervisor, Dr Phumlani Myende.
The students - Ms Nokukhanya Satimburwa, Ms Sithembile Gabuza, Mr David Masina and Mr Sibongiseni Cebekhulu - say a great deal of the success they enjoyed is thanks to the efforts of Myende.
Cebekhulu, whose research explored approaches of managing school finances in a rural context, found that principals in rural schools faced serious challenges when managing school finances, including poor training in school financial management and administrative problems.
He hopes that the Department of Basic Education (DoBE) will provide proper support to address these challenges. From his field experiences, he devised a flexible model of managing school financial resources that could help school governors in the process of school financial management.
Gabuza’s research on approaches by School Management Teams (SMTs) regarding the approach to teacher absenteeism in rural schools found that the schools use common approaches in this regard, including formulating school attendance policy or following the DoBE teacher attendance policies, arranging leave in advance, reporting absence timeously, keeping a record of absence, encouraging punctuality, monitoring of work and motivating teachers.
‘SMTs are faced with challenges of teachers who lack passion for teaching, different personalities amongst teachers, teachers who are sick, the increase of the workload for teachers and teachers who travel daily between home and school.
‘In addressing the challenges faced by SMTs in managing teacher absenteeism, they make sure that gaps are filled, they tighten managerial control by ensuring that educators comply with the rules, ensure that the work schedule is covered and work together with all stakeholders,’ she said.
Satimburwa examined perspectives of school stakeholders about policy borrowing practice at the micro level. In her study she acknowledges that while schools are required to formulate their own policies, most schools outsource these policies. Using the views from the field she then proposes some guidelines that can be used to ensure that borrowed policies are user friendly in the foreign context.
Masina’s research explored the importance of ethical leadership in two Swaziland schools.
The graduates expressed deep gratitude to their supervisor Dr Myende for ensuring they completed their theses on time. Gabuza said: ‘He gave me support and hope to finish this research project. I learned that nothing is impossible, especially when instructions are clear.’
Cebekhulu added, ‘He led and showed me the light throughout my journey with his full commitment and respect. Without Dr Myende I wouldn’t have achieved this degree in such a short space of time.’
Speaking about his supervisory skills, Myende said: ‘Being an early career academic at UKZN comes with demands that one has to fulfil, but my principle is that if we want our University to be the first choice of students we have to provide outstanding supervision for them.
‘Most postgraduate students I have worked with are adults with other commitments and they come to the University with a baggage of issues that affect their work ethic. I think my strength is in understanding who my postgraduate students are.
‘As an emerging researcher I also learn a lot from “corridor dialogues” with seasoned colleagues from my Discipline. I believe that the knowledge and experience I share with my students is also shaped by these dialogues. However, I cannot ignore the fact that the students made it easier for me to support them as they dedicated their time and energy towards the completion of their studies,’ he said.