Alumnus a Role Model for all Generations
Alumnus Mr Clive Mkhize is setting a fine example for high achievement at UKZN through excelling in his career as a high school Mathematics teacher, earning accolades and recognition from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.
Mkhize is on the staff at Umzinto Secondary School in the Ugu District on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast where he has taught Mathematics since 2013.
In 2020, four members of his matric class obtained distinctions for Mathematics in the National Senior Certificate examinations with one placed fourth in the District after achieving 94%. Mkhize was recognised for his contributions in setting Mathematics examination papers for Grade 12 pupils in the District.
A high achiever with a keen interest in the science of numbers, he got 98% for Mathematics in his matric year and chose to study at UKZN being awarded his Honours degree in Statistics in 2011.
‘I was always interested in applying mathematics in real life, and statistics helps explain how the real world operates using numbers and probability to predict the future,’ he said.
Mkhize completed his Master’s degree in Statistics at UKZN, focusing on the performance of matriculants in Mathematics and Mathematics Literacy - research which enhanced his understanding of the differences between the two subjects while providing insight into students’ perceptions of Mathematics as being significantly more difficult than Mathematics Literacy.
While a student, Mkhize assisted Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) Professor Delia North with training local high school teachers through the Statistics Outreach to Teachers in South Africa (maths4stats) programme. His lecturers recognised him as the best tutor for his efforts in helping fellow students grasp complex concepts.
His determination to help others understand concepts is what motivated him to become a teacher.
Mkhize says it is vital for scholars to master the basics of Mathematics as this is the starting point for much of what they will learn at university and beyond. He highlighted the importance of teachers who have a firm understanding of mathematical content and are able to transfer that knowledge to learners.
The most satisfying outcome for Mkhize is not the awards he received but seeing an increasing number of students take an interest in numbers and learning in the fields of Mathematics and Statistics.
‘Pursuing a career in Statistics is the way to go - I encourage every [Mathematics] learner to pursue a career in Statistics,’ said Mkhize, who acknowledged his own lecturers and supervisors at UKZN for the role they played in motivating him to achieve excellence. He highlighted the roles that North and Professor Temesgen Zewotir had played in his academic development.
‘They helped me and guided me to be the best version of myself, so because of the knowledge they have about statistics I learned from the best, enabling me to be the best teacher I can be,’ he said.
Words: Christine Cuénod