Mnqobi Mkhize (31), from Ntuzuma in KwaZulu-Natal, is helping children rediscover the importance of reading, thanks to his role as an educator assistant.
Mkhize is one of 300 000 young people employed as part of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, which is one of the biggest public employment programmes South Africa has seen.
The initiative forms part of government’s employment stimulus package, which has contributed to the creation of at least 580 000 employment opportunities.
Head of Project Management in The Presidency, Rudi Dicks, says 22 000 schools across South Africa – in every community – now have educator assistants.
Mkhize, who holds a Bachelor of Technology in Language Practice from Durban University of Technology, had been looking for a job since completing his qualification in 2017.
“I applied for the educator assistant position through the SAYouth.mobi platform in October 2021, as I constantly checked for opportunities on the platform. After I passed the interview, I was allocated to a school in my area as a reading champion,” says Mkhize.
He was appointed on a five-month contract and started at the school – Sondelani Full Service School in Ntuzuma – in November last year.
Mkhize's placement ends in March 2022.
His responsibility is to promote reading and a love of books.
“I have realised that, as a community, we are not doing enough to meet educators halfway when it comes to children’s learning.
In a world that is engulfed by the excessive use of technology, they seldom read books or put effort into their studies. We have a responsibility to educate them about the importance of reading,” he says.
Mkhize is excited to be working with young people and to have a hand in helping shape their future.
He says he has been inspired to study towards a postgraduate qualification in education, which will make him a qualified teacher.