UKZN Interacts with School Principals and Teachers
The Division of Corporate Relations (CRD) interacted with school principals and teachers during a Stakeholder Relations Breakfast at the UNITE Building on the Howard College campus.
Acting University Relations Director, Ms Hazel Langa, said UKZN’s goal of Responsible Community Engagement ensured that it contributed ‘through knowledge to the prosperity and sustainability of our province and to nation-building by connecting with and committing ourselves to the communities we serve in a manner that adds value and earns their respect, admiration and trust’.
The discussions at the breakfast were on the role of indigenous languages, leadership and the role educators can play in ensuring the correct applications were made through the Central Applications Office (CAO).
Director of Language Planning and Development at the University, Dr Langa Khumalo, who spoke on The “Role of Language in Teaching, Learning and Innovation”, said a person's language was central to the acquisition of knowledge.
Khumalo said UKZN’s language policy which initiated the compulsory studying of isiZulu for first-year students, did not seek to replace English but to enable learning to be as interactive, robust and inclusive as possible.
Khumalo reminded the audience that language was a sensitive and emotional issue.
‘We know the status of our indigenous languages and their introduction to the knowledge economy must be managed so that they can be used effectively for knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination.
‘Whenever there is a switch from a child’s first language to the language of the school, there is always an instructional blackout. For the vast majority of children, the blackout is total and final. The learning process is therefore reduced to verbatim memorisation.’
An expert in Curriculum Studies, Associate Professor Nyna Amin, spoke on “Leadership in an Era of Crises”.
Amin said there were inequalities and deficiencies in South Africa’s education system.
She outlined and explained the four areas of leadership: Power, Foreground and Background, High Quality and High Expectations, and Democracy.
She said the view a child had of their future could either be ruined or rescued. As leaders in their schools, teachers could rescue that foreground for their students leading to advancement and development.
‘So you have to take background in combination to your foreground and use that as your way to the future which then means that as teachers we have to constantly bring about the consciousness of what is possible, not what is impossible.’
CAO Chief Executive Officer, Mr George van der Ross, spoke about the responsibility of teachers and educators in assisting, encouraging and motivating learners when applying for university entry through his office.
Causes of unsuccessful applications included non-provision of identity numbers, incorrect contact details and school address, using the old CAO handbook, applying late, non-payment, and not providing updated Matric results as soon as they became available.
Eden College Principal Mr Chris Marcellin thanked UKZN for enlightening schools about what they needed to do for their learners.