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Port Elizabeth School Enters New Era as Veteran Principal Retires

Jun 02, 2021

Woolhope Secondary School, Port Elizabeth

By Naadiya Adams

Teachers touch the hearts of many students during their time in the classroom, and for students at Woolhope Secondary School in Port Elizabeth, it’s bittersweet as they bid farewell to long-time Principal Kamil Govender and welcome incoming Headmaster Haaji Rashaad Jaram.

Radio Islam’s Mufti Yusuf Moosagie, who happens to be a former student of both Govender and Jaram, had the opportunity to interview the pair this week.

Govender’s career has spanned over 40 years and impacted many lives, but it all began with a noble intention to make a difference in the community.

“I wanted to give myself to the community as a teacher, and that is what drove me,” said Govender.

Govender has served as Headmaster at Woolhope since 2000 and mentioned how the school has grown tremendously over the past two decades. However, he says one thing he misses about being a hands-on Mathematics and Science teacher is the interaction with kids.

“When I left that role and became headmaster, I missed that, the interaction with the people, the children, finding out their needs and wishes, unlocking their potential and sharing my anecdotes with them to inspire them.”

Govender says that after 20 years at the helm, he believes it’s time to pass the baton to the younger generation; his successor Haaji Rashaad Jaram who also has about 38 years of teaching experience. According to Govender, the school reached new heights under his tenure and became one of the leading schools in academia.

Govender admitted that since the onset of the pandemic many things were uncertain, managing the school has not been easy, but now as more and more information emerges and Covid protocols are strictly adhered to the situation becomes more manageable but the concern over lost teaching time remains paramount.

“This is one of my fears, research has been proven now that learners are learning between 60% and 70% a year where it is supposed to be 100%. And even in the better days before covid, it wasn’t 100% because there are so many problems that we have in our disadvantaged communities and schools. And if something is not done, we could have more and more backlogs within these communities,” says Govender.

The belief is that virtual learning in schools and at University level will become more and more entrenched.

For Jaram however, who is taking over the reins at Woolhope, nothing compares to that teacher/student interaction and no form of technology can take away a teacher’s role.

“The key factor is that you still need the teacher, with due respect to all the technology that we have, learners still want to come to school and they want to listen to their teacher and Mr.

Govender will vouch for that. We observe that,” says Jaram.

As Jaram attempts to fill the shoes of his predecessor who brought the Matric pass rate at Woolhope close to 90%, he says his goal is 100% for 210 Matrics.

Listen to the interview here:

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