This virtual lecture will take place on Thursday, 25th November 2021 at 18h30.
Lecture Title: “From Poverty to University: Journeys, Challenges and Opportunities.”
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The hills of Makhanda allow a wonderful view of Rhodes University on the other side of town, but the majority of students living on the hills never managed to access the campus in the past. The main focus of my address will thus be on stories of journeys, challenges and opportunities in life and education. Ubuntu storytelling entails people seating around the fire getting equal heat and knowledge and wisdom would be passed on in the form of stories. Specifically, my Inaugural lecture will be in that spirit and I will outline some effective stories of ‘hands-up’ and ‘second chances’ strategies that have worked for me and others. More especially, I will highlight what we can learn from some successful local community’ and Rhodes University’ strategies and from individuals who have overcome the obstacles. But you may well ask: What makes failure to succeed in getting a decent and useful education such a big deal and so consequential for an individual and society at large? Why is helping individuals get good and quality education so vital?
I am sure you have often thought about the fact that millions of South Africans come from townships, rural areas, disadvantaged economic and educational backgrounds and that the obstacles along the way are many. Many drop out of school and join the millions of unemployed or underemployed youth. And far too few graduate to join the trades, or enter college or university. And even then I feel too many fail first year in our universities. What a waste! It is against this backdrop that I am framing my talk around three interrelated success stories of ‘hands-up' and ‘second chances’ in education, of co-created and tested strategies for educational success that have worked for me personally, for local high school students, and students who have studied and graduated from Rhodes University.