Alumni

Implement learner-support initiatives, says Unisa alumnus

Bloemfontein Chapter Convenor Lebitsa Mokhele

The Bloemfontein alumni chapter breakfast was held on 3 May 2019 at the Windmill Casino, Bloemfontein. Lee Goliath was the guest speaker and delivered a presentation on how alumni could become involved to contribute to the educational success of current students.

The programme director for the morning was Lebitsa Mokhele, who is the Bloemfontein Chapter Convenor. There to welcome Unisa alumni was Mathews Kokong, Regional Director of Midlands, who highlighted the importance of being an alumnus and pointed out the challenge of learner support in the smaller towns within the region where learners have limited opportunities to network and learn from experienced professionals who are academically qualified in specific and critical educational disciplines.

Referring to the Unisa vision to be the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity, Kokong posed a challenging question to alumni: “What can you do as Unisa brand ambassadors and alumni of the university to assist in the learner-support process of our students to achieve success within an open, distance, and e-learning (ODeL) environment?”

He then proposed that alumni share their knowledge and experience by coaching and guiding learners to enhance their ability to make a success of their studies.

In contributing towards Unisa’s vision, Lee Goliath, a Unisa alumnus and an information specialist at the University of the Free State, spoke about the difficulties experienced by students and the reasons leading to students dropping out of studies. Referring to his personal experience of being an academic dropout at one stage due to challenges relating to political and socioeconomic factors, he shared an inspirational message of how he overcame those challenges and succeeded academically.

Alumni were captivated by his vision on how to assist the university to reduce the rate of student dropouts, increase student retention and success by proposing the implementation of learner-support initiatives run by the Bloemfontein Alumni Chapter in collaboration with the Unisa Midlands Region.

As a plan of action, he believes alumni can assist by offering their mentoring and coaching skills to develop students to have a greater understanding of the study content to produce high quality of academic work. He emphasised that mentorship programmes for students by alumni will encourage a sense of belonging. “Mentorship programmes will add meaningful engagement and value to the student and alumni experience, which can eventually lead to career connections and professional development.”

Amanda Tlale, Unisa Alumni Manager, in concluding the engagement, encouraged alumni to stay involved and connected with the university. “Alumni as convocants have great influence within the university as they have a say on what they would like to see done differently at Unisa. Possible solutions as well as compliments can be forwarded to the Registrar’s office to be included in the next sitting of Convocation. The responsibility of every alumni and convocant is to protect and preserve the integrity of the university while making a positive contribution in society.”

The Bloemfontein Chapter Convenor Lebitsa Mokhele can be contacted on mokhele@fshealth.gov.za.

*By Moeneeb du Plessis
Database Officer
Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2019/06/14