NGWANAMAGO Primary School teacher, Mokhudu Machaba, can now brag as one of the Top 10 teachers in the world.
The 46-year-old Seshego native has been acknowledged for her hard work and was named as one of the Top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020.
Mokhudu has been a teacher for 17 years and says she loves being a teacher as she unleashes learners’ potential and makes them better people who will contribute economically as responsible citizens.
Mokhudu told BONUS that she faced many childhood challenges on the road to achieve her own education.
During her childhood years, her school was situated seven or eight kilometers away from her home, and getting there involved crossing a river. She often had no shoes and used a rice sack as a school bag. Despite those challenges, Mokhudu was a top learner, but due to a lack of financial support, she had to take on various jobs to support herself. “Undertaking domestic work at the age of 19 to fund my studies showed my parents how serious I was about being a teacher, and eventually, I was able to go to a technical college to study a child care course, followed by the Soweto College of Education for a teaching qualification,” she said.
She says she heard about the competition, entered and made it through the Top 50 and was then selected for the Top 10.
The awards were hosted online from London’s Natural History Museum on Thursday, 3 December and hosted by British actor, Stephen Fry, where Ranjitsinh Disale from India was announced as the million dollar winner.
During the ceremony, Mokhudu’s inspirational video mentioned that she has the lives of people distilled in her hands, which she carries in her heart.
“Critical, creative and collaborative thinking is key and learners are very proud to have their indigenous knowledge implemented in the classroom. This is the digital age, and if learners cannot compete with their peers globally, they will find themselves left behind.”
Though she did not win the overall competition, Mokhudu was the only teacher in South Africa who had been selected.
The MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, shared her elation at Mokhudu’s achievement and she said she’s thrilled to have one of Limpopo’s own recognised on a global scale for her determination to help children rise above challenges presented to them.
“It is a recognition that comes after her unwavering determination to use information communication technology to improve teaching and learning in an environment where resources are limited. Mokhudu started out with just a single cellphone for internet access in class and went on to win prizes for integrating ICT in the classroom. We are proud of her that she made it to the finals. We were behind her all the way and rooted for the overall winner position,” Boshielo said.