Cape Town – His age was both the crossroads and motivating factor to pursue his PhD in Education.
This is the story of Dr Morgen Mabuto, who embarked on his PhD journey at the age of 60 and has graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
“I realised that doing the PhD would enable me not only to rediscover and energise myself, but inspire other aged learners to self-actualise too,” said Mabuto.
With three decades of extensive engagement in adult and continuing education, as a learner, lecturer and field practitioner, Mabuto chose to explore the forms of enactment educators’ use.
He analysed how they deploy the enactments and why they enact teaching and learning in their particular ways in the Non-Formal Education Policy (NFEP) programmes at selected schools in the Masvingo District of Zimbabwe.
In his exploratory study, Mabuto discovered that educators lacked clarity on the forms of enactments to be employed for driving Non-Formal Education’s (NFE) teaching and learning.
“Educators were not well versed in the discipline’s technical, pedagogic and content knowledge, which should enlighten them about particular forms of enactments and how best to deliver NFE teaching and learning.
“Two government ministries were simultaneously influencing teaching and learning in the NFEP school model, leading to bouts of uncertainty among educators about the identity of the curriculum-in-use, thereby validating the engagement of a process of curriculum integration,” said Mabuto.
Mabuto believes his research will provide accurate information to guide government in reforming the existing school model on the enactment of teaching and learning of NFE policy programmes.
At the time of his studies, Mabuto battled soaring inflation in Zimbabwe while trying to raise funds for his research.
Travel to South Africa became almost impossible due to high exchange rates, and the shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe.
The cost of electricity was exorbitant with an intermittent supply of a daily maximum of four hours.
Mabuto resorted to paying neighbours who had generators for charging his second-hand laptop and for emailing documents.
“On one trip to seek supervision in South Africa, a body search by police of bus passengers uncovered an alleged armed robber.
’’For some of the passengers, that was the journey’s end, as they were wary about continuing with the trip. For me, it was aluta continua – I resolved to proceed with the trip on the premise that I had not yet found what I was looking for, namely the PhD,” said Mabuto.
He plans to continue to conduct research that develops the scholarship of teaching and learning, researching and publishing articles, with the goal of becoming a professor.
Mabuto said he is thankful for the support from his wife Irene, family, friends, and his supervisors, Professor Simon Bheki Khoza and Professor Philip Higgs.
His son, Kudakwashe, said: “What an achievement and what an honour for me to look up to you as my father, the one who doesn’t just quit; the man who does not allow circumstances to hold him back.
’’I know that it has been a tough journey with many lessons learned in and out of the classroom.
’’At the end of the day, ‘the Fish eagle’ (our totem), is flying high in the sky in celebration. To say I am proud is an understatement.”