Meet the top of the teaching crop: Vusumuzi Dlamini

2011-10-15 16:34

With a PhD in education and an MBA, Vusumuzi Dlamini could easily chase after a more lucrative salary than the teacher’s wage he draws.

But his love for children and the passion for his work is what has kept him in the profession for the past 23 years.

Dlamini (52) is among the top 10 teachers across the country honoured by Stars in Education 2011. The gala event, which falls within World Teachers’ Month, was held in Cape Town recently.

Showcased were individuals who are remarkable examples of service and dedication to the profession.

“I see no other place where one can contribute better than in education,” Dlamini said.

He is the principal of Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School in Umlazi, ­KwaZulu-Natal. The school has 3 085 pupils and an average pass rate of 80%.

Pupils are empowered by the school motto: “Don’t make the minimum requirement your maximum effort.”

Pupils from grades 10 to 12 are expected to do a minimum of nine subjects.

Subjects such as Visual Arts have been offered at the school for the past 15 years.

“Children will yield to where you set your boundary lines,” says Dlamini.

But the strength of the school is not just in academics. It offers 18 sporting codes, which Dlamini described as “all alive and well”.

But perhaps the school’s biggest achievement is its care centre.

Dlamini said they discovered through an internal survey that they conducted in 2004 that a large number of pupils were Aids orphans. Through the centre, 250 destitute pupils are fed one meal a day with provisions largely funded by teachers at the school.

“We discovered that children were falling sick because they were hungry. For some children, this is possibly the only meal they get.”

Secondary schools were only grafted into the National Schools Nutrition Programme in 2009 starting with quintile 1. Quintiles 2 and 3 were added this year and last year, respectively. Currently, 2 608 751 pupils in 4 794 high schools across the country are on the National Schools Nutrition Programme. In the province, 1 209 secondary schools are on the programme. Ogwini is yet to be added to the programme.

In Ogwini, funds for the feeding scheme are still largely generated from the teachers’ pockets. But pupils are encouraged to bring what they can from home.

Over and above the food, this centre also serves as a place where children can get “soul food” through counselling from teachers and discuss common issues with peers.

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