IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START LEARNING


Old dogs can learn new tricks, and education is never wasted, no matter your age. If you want to be inspired to take up studies later in life, read on…



The late Kimani Maruge of Kenya holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school. Maruge, who was a farmer, started school at 84 after the Kenyan government introduced free primary education in 2003. The remarkable scholar passed away in 2009, but Maruge’s life remains an inspiration. Local personalities who have also inspired us with their perseverance and dedication to learning include jazz musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse (67) who went back to school in 2012 at the age of 60 to complete his matric, and TV and radio host Zuraida Jardine, who obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the age of 43 and is currently studying towards her honours. They are all proof that age doesn’t need to stop anyone from furthering their education. Winnie Mathebula and Khomotso Moukangwe, who also picked up the books long after school-leaving age, share their journeys with us.



Like Maruge, Winnie Mathebula (85) of Saulsville decided her age would not stop her from learning new things. She left school when she was in grade 9 to look for a job and was employed in the retail industry for many years. Her dream as a young girl was to become a nurse but she was unable to realise it because of the family responsibilities that fell on her shoulders. Then, in 2016, she enrolled in Adult Education and Training (AET) classes with a group of other women from her community who were aged between 60 and 70. Winnie says the learners received a stipend through their learning programme and that motivated them to continue attending the classes for three years. There were approximately 50 learners in her AET class and she was the oldest! ‘There were people who asked us how we could attend classes when we were so old but we didn’t pay attention to them,’ she smiles. ‘The classwork was not difficult at all, and the teachers were patient with us. She has now completed AET Level 1 & 2 (Numeracy and English). ‘I’ve learnt a lot through AET classes,’ she says. ‘Now, I know a bit of English as well and I’m able to read and understand it. I didn’t even know maths before!’ She adds that the numeracy lessons have helped her and her classmates because often the elderly get tricked out of their social grants. ‘When you have numeracy skills you are able to count your own money and now when we are asked to sign at the bank we no longer just make a cross (X) but we write out our names!’



Suzan Mdluli (52) wrote her matric exam four times – in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 – to improve her marks. After receiving her matric certificate in 1995 she did laundry for people in her Nelspruit community. ‘I used to get paid 7000 a month and with that money, I would lay-by Christmas clothing for my children at Jet,’ she says. In 2016, after being a domestic worker for decades, she enrolled at Tshwane University of Technology for a six-month course in Creative Early Childhood Education and Development. Then in 2017, she enrolled with Unisa for a one-year Grade R Teaching programme. ‘I’ve always wanted to open my own business in the childhood development field,’ she says, ‘but I realised that I would need to get a qualification. Suzan has completed the first year of her diploma in Grade R Teaching at Lyceum Correspondence College. She says when people asked her why she was going to school at her age, she responded, ‘I have hope that God has a plan for my life and my purpose will not be fulfilled if I’m just standing still. By 2021 Suzan intends to open her own Early Childhood Development Centre. ‘The next time you visit me, I will be running my centre and you can drop off your kids with me,’ she smiles.

HOW TO USE YOUR JET CLUB EDUCATION BENEFIT
Go to www.studymaster.co.za (English) or www.studiemeester.co.za (Afrikaans). Click on Register, pick Jet Club Education Support Services and fill in your details. Sign up today – it’s the simplest way to boost your child’s or your performance at school!

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START LEARNING IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START LEARNING Reviewed by Jet Club on January 14, 2019 Rating: 5

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