Recognising women in Community Engagement: Zintle Songqwaru

Ms. Zintle Songqwaru
Ms. Zintle Songqwaru

Ms Zintle Songqwaru is a lecturer in the Rhodes University Faculty of Education where she teaches honours students, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students and supervises masters students. She also coordinates part of the PGCE programme (Senior Phase and Further Education and Training). She joined the faculty in 2013 as a Fundisa for Change coordinator, a national teacher education programme.

Songqwaru’s work experience and proven leadership track record led her to be selected as one of the faculty’s Heads of Department. She assumed this role in July this year. Songqwaru says she was surprised that staff members had nominated her for this role, “I did not realise that they saw I had the potential to take up a leadership position”.

Songqwaru believes that Rhodes University is a good space for one to discover their full potential, both personally and professionally. She says the University provides opportunities for networking and collaboration institutionally, locally (community), nationally, regionally and internationally, which is critical for global citizenship. Her sentiments about the University are reflected in her work as she has conceptualised and executed a service-learning programme in the faculty. The programme requires PGCE (Senior Phase & FET) students to engage in a community engagement programme in a school where they spend most of their teaching practice. They are expected to identify an issue the school and/or learners experience that has a negative impact on the quality of teaching and learning.  Students are required to jointly plan with the school’s stakeholders and implement activities that will address the issue identified. They then at the end of the year evaluate the success and /or effectiveness of their intervention.