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ZANELE DIBANE

“I am so grateful for NSFAS because they brought me to where I am. NSFAS opened doors for me and I was able to get a start. After completing my Masters postgraduate, I will qualify to teach Maths teachers the methods and formulas of teaching Mathematics”



Career Field : Education
Occupation : Maths Specialist, Teacher
Years Funded : 2007
Institution : University of Pretoria
Course : Bachelor of Education

I was born in Tembisa, and after completing primary school, I went to live with my grandparents in Mpumalanga, where I stayed until I completed my Matric. I have five siblings. My mother was a housewife and my father worked as a driver in Johannesburg. He was a breadwinner and had to raise all of us on his salary, so it was not easy. After I completed my studies, I did not know how I was going to pay for my university fees, but fortunate enough, after I arrived at the University of Pretoria, I heard about NSFAS and that was when I applied for financial support. Fortunately, my application was successful. My NSFAS funding included tuition, accommodation, meals and books. I was very happy because when I applied for NSFAS, I was really just taking chances.

My parents were happy for me because they were depressed about where they were going to find money. Besides NSFAS my family would not have been. Since I understood my background and also knew that when you fail, you lose your NSFAS funding, I worked very hard to make sure that I pass my subjects. Just to complement my parents’ support, I did small piece jobs while I was still studying. After graduating in 2010, I enrolled for my Honours in Education Management, Law and Policies. I was placed at a school by the Funza Lushaka bursary, where I started teaching Mathematics. I immediately registered for my Masters in Science and Mathematics, because there is a need in South Africa for Maths teachers to be trained by qualified specialists.

The problem we have is that most teachers teaching Maths in primary school are not specialist Maths teachers, so we are solving that problem by providing professional training to these Maths teachers. Our learners struggle with Mathematics at high school because they did not receive solid Maths foundation at primary school. As a qualified Maths teacher, I can do a lot of things, but I am passionate about teaching. I want our learners to have the best education in Mathematics so that they can pass and qualify to do courses such as Engineering and so on. I am so grateful for NSFAS because they brought me to where I am. NSFAS opened doors for me and I was able to get a start. After completing my Masters postgraduate, I will qualify to teach Maths teachers the methods and formulas of teaching Mathematics. Primary school is a foundation and it is important that Maths teachers are trained to be able to teach the subjects to the learners.

ADVICE TO CURRENT NSFAS STUDENTS:

“Work hard. I have seen with myself that hard work pays off. When you don’t work hard, even if you get a privilege, it can be taken away from you. Use your NSFAS privilege fruitfully. Do your level best. Your background does not matter”.

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