Schools across South African have shut their doors due to the rising coronavirus pandemic. This is all in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure that the principles of social distancing and the lockdown regulations are adhered to in the effort to flatten the curve of the deadly coronavirus.
In spite of the pandemic, learning must continue and technology has seemingly presented an opportunity for remote learning where children from across the nation can keep up with their learning needs during the lockdown period. Heeding to the call is actor, entrepreneur and model Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo who forms part of the digital learning team that will ensure that students don’t fall behind with their studies.
Motaung has partnered with MsZora by Africa Teen Geeks, Africa’s largest computer science education and non-profit organisation that aims to educate and inspire young leaders.
MsZora by Africa Teen Geeks in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and Sasol Foundation presents “Free Stem Lockdown Digital School, “an online platform that will assist students with English, Mathematics and Science.
We caught up with Motaung-Mhlongo to talk about his passion for education and his journey thus far as an online tutor for the Grade 11 learners.
Your passion for education, where does it stem from?
I grew up in a family of academics, and that led to me really loving the academic space. Both my parents studied law, my older sister studied culinary and my younger sister, chattered accountancy.
My parents taught us to really love education and embrace it all the way. I also used to teach and tutor a lot of my peers in high school and in university.
Was teaching something you always wanted to pursue?
Teaching has always been my passion, but it is not something I wanted to do as a career. I however do face to face tutoring and online tutorials with high school students, and my dream one day is to open an academic institution that deals with just tutoring of students.
Did you undergo any form of training in preparation for the project?
I have extensive experience in online tutoring, the training they gave me was how to use their system and also provided me with the department of education Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum to prepare myself.
How did you find out about the project and what drew you to the project?
I saw on the news that an online platform has been started with the reason of assisting students, I then searched for Africa Teen Geeks and sent my profile and CV. I love teaching and education, and assisting young people with their studies is one thing I have always loved, so it was a no brainer.
Tell us about your experience so far and where do you draw your inspiration from?
The experience of African Teen Geeks has been amazing, because I am doing what I love and in subjects that I am very good at. This project really ignited my passion even more, because I am doing this on a daily basis and I also get to interact with young amazing students who want a bright future for themselves.
I own a company called Glam Troupe and we do Matric Dance Makeovers. I always meet a lot of young people when I do school visits and campaigns. They really inspire me to do more for young people because of where they want to see themselves in the future. IT KEEPS ME GOING.
How do you handle cyberbullies? For example, tweeps are already asking when did you graduate as a teacher, others are asking how you got the job in the first place when you’re not a qualified teacher/tutor.
I am really used to people saying all sorts of things about me and to me on social media, and I am not bothered at all. For me the most important thing is that the learners are happy with the lessons, as well as my subject advisers and the department.
How long will the project run for?
It will run for as long as we have the lockdown, but there are plans of going beyond the lockdown should there be a demand.
Are you considering teaching on a long term basis?
Yes I definitely am. I want to start my own team of tutors who can also go out there and assist learners.
The virtual classrooms are offered at no cost across all grades and sessions will be recorded and posted on the following sites: Africa Teen Geeks, MsZora and Department of Basic of Education.
Motaung is the CEO and founder of a company called Glam Troupe, a company that aims to provide Matric Dance makeovers for Grade 12’s for their Matric ball. He also runs a CSI project that provides makeovers to disadvantaged learners. Also,through Glam Troupe, Motaung does motivational talks in schools around the country.
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