The Faculty of Education at the University of Zululand recently hosted a students’ assembly at KwaDlangezwa Campus. The imbizo was themed: “The Quality of an Education System Can Never Exceed the Quality of Its Teachers”.
The Deputy Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Samantha Govender specified that student assemblies are an opportunity for the faculty to promote universal values and most importantly to promote institutional culture while offering students the opportunity to grow and to develop into valuable members of the society and the community at large.
The influential event was a platform which aimed to provide the inculcation of patriotic spirit and sharing values of good citizenship. It was also aimed at creating a platform where the Faculty of Education can help students to understand the importance of brotherhood, sisterhood and social nestle and at international levels. Finally, to promote a democratic way of thinking, living and to teach students on how to make sound decisions based on moral and ethical principles.
The programme was led by two guest speakers. Doctor Ingrid Kapueja spoke about the leadership in education: theory and practice. Dr Kapueja began by educating students on what teacher leadership is. “Teacher leadership refers to skills that is demonstrated by teachers who continue to teach learners but also have an influence that extends beyond their classrooms to others within their own schools and elsewhere,” she said. Therefore, teachers should be an example to learners in the way they act, speak, and behave. She further went on to highlight that educators need to meet learners through challenging activities and through rigorous learning, as educators take a leadership role inside and outside the classroom. They should innovate, develop, and inspire learners, since teachers are best leaders because they can educate and enable education to take place, they are able to inspire and persuade the learners.
Furthermore, talking about social accountability Dr Hlengiwe Mhlongo said, “Social accountability has an influence in the change of practice. Teachers need to empower the society that they are serving. They should produce responsible citizens and model a good role to those they are teaching, that will empower society. They need to implement curriculum, as it is a very powerful tool to influence practices”, she said. She continued to state that educators should mind their actions in the society, consider the rights of the society they are serving and the rights of other people that might be victims of their actions
She concluded by, encouraging young teachers to rethink and change the way they behave in society. “Think of what you could do differently as of today so that you can be accountable of your actions, change the practices that are not empowering, practices that are not acceptable in society and be responsible citizens,” advised Dr Mhlongo.
- Sinenhlanhla Ngcongo