When Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande did a recent walkabout at Unisa, there was a concerted effort to highlight the great efforts being made by the institution to reshape the education landscape. But another important factor has, perhaps, already shown that the minister is confident about Unisa’s teaching credentials.
Among the numerous graduates during a ceremony held on 3 April 2013, the start of the university’s autumn graduations, was minister Nzimande’s son, Nkululeko, who has completed his Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science (Hons BCompt).
Nkululeko was originally at a contact university but wanted to take his qualifications further while being able to work at the same time. “Unisa was a different experience to a residential university that I was at before. I wanted to start work, I really wanted to get into it and try studying part time. It has worked well for me. Having to communicate via email and over the phone with the academics accentuated some of the skills I needed for the workplace. Things like my writing skills, explanations over the phone, so it really was a different experience but it worked out really well,” he says.
Coming from a strong teaching background, Dr Nzimande recognises the value of hard work and a good education. An industrial psychology student, he was awarded his PhD for a thesis in the field of personnel management and has served as a lecturer and teacher in number of institutions and schools. He was delighted with his son’s achievements and gave Unisa his seal of approval. “It’s a very exciting evening for me and my family that my son is graduating and getting his honours in accounting science; it’s very important. He’s graduating in one of our public universities and we’re very confident about the quality of the programmes here. In a way this is setting an example for other parents,” the minister says.
Despite having big shoes to fill, given his father’s credentials, Nkululeko is adamant that he will carve out his own success. “It’s an experience and quite rewarding to get such recognition but my aim is to get him recognition because of my achievements and not me getting recognition because of his. That’s what I’m working towards and I’m going to continue studying,” he says.
*Written by Rajiv Kamal
In 2013 Unisa celebrates 140 years of shaping the futures of students through teach and learning.