“Birthday Present” Degree for PhD Graduate
It was a double celebration for a lecturer at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Dr Prinavin Govender who graduated with a PhD in Education from UKZN… and celebrated his birthday the next day!
‘I couldn’t have got a better present,’ said Govender. Being in the Information Technology (IT) field for more than 30 years and fired up with a passion for both teaching and research, Govender examined the basic pedagogy of teaching and learning computer programming, interpreting how IT academics perceive their vocation. His research also investigated practitioner research (his self-study) and IT academics who taught computer programming to first-year students at a university of technology in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
‘This research will assist first-year IT programming academics, and even IT school teachers to understand their pedagogical impact at an Institution of Higher Learning. My study will further potentially serve as a path for future research and aid in understanding the pedagogical impact of the teaching and learning of IT on first-year IT students,’ explained Govender.
Reflecting on his experience of juggling a full-time job, parenting and studying, Govender said: ‘I had to challenge myself not to give up. There were times I questioned pursuing a PhD. I even typed a chapter of my thesis in the car park of my daughter’s school. It feels like a distant memory but I managed to complete it under duress and with personal sacrifice.’
He advised other students to never quit and ‘change your cell phone background screen to display PhD, and every time you look at your cell phone that must serve as a reminder to continue and persevere.’
One of the highlights during Govender’s PhD was enrolling for and studying the CS50 online computer programming course, though Harvard extension school in the United States. He also received a scholarship from Microsoft Corporation.
Govender plans to do post-doctoral studies, to supervise postgraduate students and to write journal articles. ‘I would love to convert my findings into a handbook, with a title along the lines of: A Handbook for IT Programming Academics and a Resource for Fellow Educators.
He thanked his family, friends and supervisor Professor Vimolan Mudaly ‘for giving me the space and sometimes the distance to complete a mammoth task.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo