MUT awards top performing schools in Umlazi

Zama, right, receiving some gift vouchers from GEM's MD, Idris Pandor
Zama, right, receiving some gift vouchers from GEM’s MD, Idris Pandor

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is once again hosting the annual Circle of Excellence Awards (CoE) today to honour local schools that performed exceptionally in 2018 Grade 12 examinations. The event is also meant to encourage other schools to improve their results and join their counterparts in achieving excellent results.

The CoE is a brainchild of MUT, working with the leadership of the Department of Education’s Umlazi District. MUT Stakeholder Relations Director, Zama Sishi, said the University was mindful of the role that the district director, leadership at district level, principals, teachers and even parents play in the success of these high schools.

“The time has now come for MUT to assist in the revitalisation of Umlazi Township, that is why in 2019 the CoE will be held at Umlazi Comtech High to symbolise our desire to work with the people of Umlazi. We see our relationship with the schools as a gateway towards this advancement of Umlazi. Together we have an obligation to empower learners to become global citizens who will recognise the necessity to embrace diversity and equality. The COE provides a platform for all of us as stakeholders to become astute and serve Umlazi to the best of our abilities,” said Sishi.

Now in its sixth year, the CoE has expanded its area of focus to include Accounting, English, Mathematics and Physical Science in order to accommodate more learners and schools in the area.

“Having celebrated excellence at Umlazi high schools over the past five years, we are heartened to see that our neighbouring high schools have changed learners from ordinary to extraordinary. Inspired by the COE, some schools have worked their way to the top, while those at the summit have been able to hold on to their positions. That is very nice to see,” said Sishi.

It is worth noting that the big push by its neighbours has not dislodged Menzi High School from its top spot, even after the sad passing of its revered Principal, Felix Mshololo. His management style has ensured that Menzi High continues to excel. This school has done even better by helping other schools to perform better. Sishi said that such corporate social responsibility was the very premise that the CoE were founded on.

The CoE has given Umlazi Township teachers a chance to rub shoulders with education leaders from all over the country. When the CoE was introduced, there was literally no budget; but through the benevolence of funders such as the Willowton Group, Gem School wear, Iqraa Trust, Elet, ENGEN, Lasec Edutrade, Lab O’Quip, Van Schaik Bookstores, ProcessLitho and Sesifikile Booksellers; MUT has been able to encourage good performance at Umlazi Township schools, and rewarded their excellence.

The CoE is in line with the new University Anchor Strategy which was introduced by MUT Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, as part of the University’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. The CoE reaffirms MUT’s commitment to the development and empowerment of Umlazi Township, its people and its schools in particular.

“It has been our observation that as a result of the CoE, additional schools have been spurred on to stake their claim within the circle of excellence. Just when we thought that certain schools were leading in certain subjects, we have noted that new schools are emerging as leaders in particular subjects. This is a healthy competition that should be encouraged,” said Sishi.