The role of tutors at the University is becoming more prominent. Dr Joseph Bwapwa of the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying said his six tutors played a major role in decreasing his heavy load and had a positive impact upon the performance of students. Dr Bwapwa teaches about 400 first semester students. He said that his tutors play a supporting role.
“They are able to articulate to the students the manner in which the lecturers would like to get the message across to the students. They effectively compliment the lecturers’ work,” said Dr Bwapwa. Dr Bwapwa added that the tutors are able to emphasize the practical part of the course, and give more attention to the particular issues that may be bothering the students. They also give us the real picture of what is happening with the students as well as give our feedback to the students.
Two of these tutors are Minenhle Ximba and Ngcebo Kunene. Both are on the exit level. Minenhle completed his S4 in record time; now he is looking for in-service training. He has been a tutor for three semesters. He said that being a tutor can be challenging, but he was prepared for the job. Minenhle learnt time management, communicating well with students, and has sheared stage fright, which he said was his weakness. Both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they have learnt a lot from Dr Bwapwa, what they have learnt is now benefiting the students.
“We are now able to handle student issues, listen to students, and give them space and freedom to talk to us as equals,” said Minenhle. Minenhle said that the good relationship with Dr Bwapwa started when he was doing S1. He said that it was the one word that Dr Bwabwa said which did the trick, “Commitment”. Now both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they see the value of investing more time in their work, just like Dr Bwapwa, who leaves the office very late.
They spend more time with their students and they are also on WhatsApp with them to ensure the students’ problems are attended to in time.