Expert scholar keen to indigenise the academic project

Prof Mishack Gumbo

Prof Mishack Gumbo says that the C1 rating that he received from the National Research Foundation (NRF) adds him to the pack of rated professors at Unisa and enhances institutional prestige. Gumbo, of Unisa’s Department of Science and Technology Education in the College of Education, says: "It is a boost to the university’s institutional rating, as well as a big achievement for the college and my department."

Gumbo is the editor-in-chief of Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. With exhilaration, he remarks: "It is a great reward for my tedious work and makes me reflect on years of my growth with great gratification." He adds: "The rating completes my scholarly leadership locally, regionally and internationally as my application was subjected to rigorous peer review by experts in my field."

Increased citations

Gumbo says that after adding the rating on his open researcher and contributor identifier site, he noticed an increase in the citation of his work. The rating qualifies him for a research incentive, which he received upon his rating, and support from the NRF’s Comprehensive Programme for Rated Researchers (CPRR), which is a research support grant that he has applied for. It also qualifies him for a research professorate that he intends applying for and an award that he will receive soon.

"Developing scholars and entities invite me to contribute my research expertise towards their development," he says. Gumbo is currently focusing on two research projects, one of which is a strategic intervention in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MSTE). He explains: "It is a collaborative project between Unisa and the Mathematics, Science and Technology Agency (MSTA) in Mpumalanga. It gives support to MSTA regarding the professional development of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) teachers, and research related to pedagogical content knowledge and learner performance in the MST strands."

The other project that Gumbo leads is a scholarly book co-writing project for Springer together with a scholar in Australia on indigenous technological knowledge systems education. International scholars are contributing chapters to the book.

Thirst for indigenising academia

For Gumbo, his greatest career highlight is the panorama of his academic hard work over the years, which has culminated in a professorate and the current NRF rating. "It is a hard-earned achievement of constant performance while I was toiling day and night in about three decades of scholarship," he says.

Nevertheless, Gumbo feels that indigenising the academic project is a goal that has not yet been achieved, especially in higher education institutions. He says: "I addressed this academic thirst in my CPRR application, which is about the indigenisation of MSTE master’s programmes. The project will involve three universities, namely Unisa, the University of Botswana and the Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe. The project participants will be engaged in participatory action research activities, which will lead towards the development of indigenous MSTE master’s programmes."

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021-07-15 00:00:00.0