Rhodes University celebrates top feeder schools in the province

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Rhodes University leadership with the schools' representatives. Photo cred: Vusumzi Tshekema.
Rhodes University leadership with the schools' representatives. Photo cred: Vusumzi Tshekema.

By Singisa Mdungwana


The Rhodes University Student Recruitment hosted a Life Orientation teacher’s workshop last week to celebrate and honour top provincial feeder schools. Life Orientation teachers from 14 high schools from across the length and breadth of the province formed part of the two-day workshop aimed at giving a taste of Rhodes University campus life.

The teachers visited all Faculties and Departments, such as Environmental Science, Human Kinetics and Ergonomics and the School of Journalism and Media Studies. Student Recruitment Officer, Sibongile Mkwetshana, said the aim was to “resuscitate” and “reinvent” Rhodes University in the mindset of teachers from top-feeder schools in the province. The first-hand exploration provided the teachers with a much deeper understanding of the academic environment in which their students may find themselves in the near future.

“Traditionally, pre-Covid, the event would be a one-day event, but now it has been turned into a two-day event, considering that teachers would be too exhausted from travelling to assimilate their experience. Some teachers came from as far as Mthatha, Cofimvaba and had to be ready to be picked up by three in the morning to arrive in Makhanda. We are grateful they were committed to honouring our invite, even if it meant waking up early and sacrificing their holidays,” said Mkwetshana.

The two-day workshop culminated in a dinner at The Highlander. Among the University leadership that attended were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Professor ‘Mabokang Monnapula-Mapesela, Registrar Professor Adele Moodley, Dean of Law Professor Lawrence Juma and Dean of Commerce Professor Dave Sewry.

The teachers were treated to a special celebratory awards dinner where Professor Monnapula-Mapesela, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, welcomed and expressed deep gratitude to the schools and their teachers. She thanked the teachers and their schools for their hard work and dedication in producing high-calibre students for Rhodes University. She reminded them that they play an immense role in the development of the Eastern Cape and, therefore, should be celebrated and seen as the pride and joy of the province.

“As a former teacher, I know this noble profession is often undermined, and our teachers are undervalued. However, I can assure you that Rhodes University understands the importance of a teacher and the value you all add to nation-building,” she said.

Mr Mvuyisi Mlilwana from ST. Johns College urged Rhodes University to continue with such initiatives and expressed how this unique experience brought a new and fresh perspective about Rhodes University. “I also noticed that the programmes at Rhodes University are innovative and do not necessarily focus on students getting jobs. This is exactly what this country needs,” he said. He also expressed his gratitude to the lecturers and thanked them for treating them with such great respect.

Ms Sandy Vlandir of Victoria Girls’ High School added that the experience has helped her redirect her learners from typically taking on traditional career paths to helping them see that there are so many other alternatives they could explore.

Mkwetshana said that such events will play a pivotal role in disseminating the uniqueness of Rhodes University. She said this would endure that they are able to reach out to more teachers from other provinces to have this experience.