Umzinto teacher bags Kader Asmal Lifetime Achievement Award

15 October 2022 - 14:08 By Mfundo Mkhize
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Nerina Rangasamy, 53, with her award.
Nerina Rangasamy, 53, with her award.
Image: Supplied

The education profession is about far more than long holidays and a salary. It's about a passion to shape young lives.

That’s according to the winner of the national Kader Asmal Lifetime Achievement Award for teaching excellence, KwaZulu-Natal's Nerina Rangasamy, 53.

She and other recipients in 13 categories received their awards from education MEC Mbali Frazer. “This is such a fantastic achievement for me. I have been a very dedicated and committed educator,” said Rangasamy.

The St Patrick's Primary School teacher trained at the now-defunct Springfield Teachers' Training College, where she obtained a senior primary teaching diploma cum laude. She also holds a BEd honours degree cum laude from Unisa.

Rangasamy was elated at her school's showing in the awards —  five of its teachers represented the institution.

Her colleague, Nzuki Duma, clinched the award for excellence in grade R teaching. “We are all elated. What makes me even more ecstatic is how hard we work under trying circumstances. More than 95% of the pupils we teach hail from surrounding informal settlements,” said Rangasamy.

Some of the pupils' poor socioeconomic conditions have not deterred them from performing to the best of their abilities in the classroom and on the sports field.

Rangasamy credited school head Gregory Dlamini and his predecessor, Perinasen Naicker, for making the institution a shining light in the community.

“Mr Dlamini has been a pillar and encouraged us to enter the coveted awards, something we hadn’t done before,” said Rangasamy.

When the mother of two entered the profession in 1992 at Port Shepstone Primary School, her wish was to change the lives of young people. For the past 28 years she has been at St Patrick's, where she has ensured she delivers quality education.

Rangasamy said it was a no-brainer she would become a teacher as her parents and siblings were teachers.

“We have contributed more than 150 years of teaching to the province's education department,” she said.

Bowing out of the profession has not crossed her mind as she still has more than a decade of service to offer and intends completing a master’s degree in education leadership. “I thank my husband for being the pillar. I have raised good children who have gone on to achieve great things. I gave them the chance to further their studies while I put mine on hold,” said Rangasamy.

She said the schooling system had changed drastically since she started teaching. “ “In the past there was major emphasis on learner centredness and making sure everything was centred on the learner.

“Nowadays, though, teachers are burdened with paperwork. Still, I always try to give it my best shot by ensuring I am productive,” said Rangasamy.


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