Maths PhD graduate takes student to Wits to witness him crossing the stage

Dr Mabaso and Mhlengi at Wits

While it is true that there are well known ways of ensuring that students grasp what they are taught by their lecturers, it is equally true that there are some innovative ways of getting the message to the students. This  was illustrated last week by an unfamiliar decision that was taken by Dr Sibusiso Mabaso, a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Dr Mabaso took an unprecedented decision of taking a student to Wits University to witness as he was stage-crossing for his PhD in Mathematics, on 30 September 2021. Dr Mabaso said the reason for his decision was “to encourage students to perform well in Statistics and also to change their attitude about this subject as being a challenging subject, and reach the apex qualification. I organize some awards for students who performed well for each test,” said Dr Mabaso. Dr Mabaso lectures Statistics to students from various academic departments.

“I decided to take a student who has the highest DP from three tests they have written thus far, to witness this august occasion. Eight students were qualifying and not to be statistically biased I approached Mr Bheki Hlophe from MarComms to do a selection-draw in the presence of the tutors and class reps. A Marketing II student, Mhlengi Hlongwane, happened to be the fortunate student to win the all-expenses paid trip to accompany me for my graduation ceremony,” said Dr Mabaso.

Dr Mabaso took the student to the Department of Actuary Sciences and Statistics at Wits University “to instil love for Statistics and widen his horizon on other fields, like Actuary Sciences, where Statistics is applied. Another reason for Dr Mabaso to motivate students to change their attitude towards Stats is a scarce skills subject.

Dr Mabaso’s PhD was on Number Theory, and was titled: “Solving some Diophantine equations involving Fibonacci numbers, Catalan numbers, Ramanujan tau-function and factorials”. His supervisor was Professor Florian Luca, an A-rated Number Theorist. As far as the future is concerned, Dr Mabaso said he was now going to pursue his studies now in Statistics and statistical softwares to help the researchers on analyzing their data.

Hlongwane said he would forever be grateful to have experienced  seeing Dr Mabaso crossing the stage. “I had before only imagined myself completing all my studies and obtaining a PhD in Marketing Management. After yesterday it is no longer something that I just imagine, but it is now a mission of mine that I hope to accomplish one day,” said Hlongwane.