Press Release

For immediate release: 5April 2020

“As educators, we have to look beyond just curriculum and help students understand political, social and economic impacts around the world, and how crises were dealt with in the past –so we don’t just survive this crisis, but have measures of relief in place. Hopefully, we come out of this having reformed education to some extent so we are better equipped to deal with the next crisis.” – Marjorie Brown

Teachers’ participation in Jakes Gerwel Fellowship’s‘Educating in Interesting Times’Webinar series highlight complex challenges ofCovid-19’s disruption to education

In March, South Africa joined a growing international list of 107 countries who have implemented national school closures. While our schools are scheduled to reopen mid-April, this is looking increasingly unlikely –and school leaders around the country are faced with an unprecedented situation of educating in uncertain times.

In response to this disruption, the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship has assembled distinguished local and international sector leaders to unpack how best to respond to the resounding impact of these unforeseen changes.

The first instalment of the Webinar series ‘Educating in Interesting Times’ proved hugely successful, with nearly 1 000 attendees from all over the country.

School teachers, lecturers, educational entrepreneurs, pracademics, and heads of leading educational institutions and non-governmental organisations raised concerns about the impact of social isolaton on learners, teachers, existing curricula, and the future of education–and questioned the validity of tech and data as a solution.

Question posed include:

  • “How do we address and ‘recover’ the content knowledge lost due to remote/online learning and an inability to access the information teachers want learners to access?”
  • “How do we communicate with students in this country?
  • “How do we teach practical subjects like Consumer Studies?
  • “It would be great if we could touch on barriers to learning –I’m teaching learners with multiple barriers, these learners are disadvantaged even further with limited support at home. We specialise, but many mainstream schools have learners with the same barriers.”
  • “This pandemic is putting a huge question on the validity of the methodologies of teaching and learning. After this, it cannot be business as usual. Universities and Schools’ curriculum and methodologies needs to be relevant and accessible to all. The question is: what needs to change?”

Hosted by JGF Program Officer Zolani Metu, the panelists included educational luminaries:Professor Jonathan Jansen, Dudu Makhari, Marjorie Brown and Armand Doucet, an award-winning educator and coach based in Canada.

The first instalment in the series was underscored by the pressing challenges educators are currently facing, with case studies and advice on resilience strategies forwarded by panelists and participants alike.

The series continues this Thursday, 9 April from 10am.

Titled ‘Exploring Low-Tech Opportunities’, our panel of educational innovators will explore the critical issue of ensuring continuity across education in South Africa–a populous country of 59 million with only 29 million internet users.

The challenge of little-to-no accessible technology or connectivity is very real for parents and educators, and our experts will share their experiences on how to leverage low-or-no technology in a disrupted environment.

Confirmed Speakers

Khangelani Sibiya (KWV Tutoring)

Khangelani won the Global Education Award in 2019. An accredited expert teacher, he engages with a wide variety of grassroots schools in KwaZulu Natal with innovative approaches.

Zameka Lubelwana (Funda Wande)

As a Language Specialist, Zameka head up the Eastern Cape Intervention for Funda Wande, an organisation who trains educators how to teach reading for meaning. Funda Wande aims to ensure that all learners in South Africa can read for meaning in their home language by the age of 10. They develop video and print material to train teachers and have made their materials freely available so anyone can use them.

Ashley Visagie (Bottomup, Director)

Ashley is an academic with a deep concern for children and youth in South Africa who are subject to an inequitable and unjust system of education. As the co-founder of Bottomup, Ashley works to promote youth activism through critical youth action research projects.

Join our esteemed speakers as they explore existing and potential solutions that can be deployed quickly, easily and broadly to low-resource areasto ascertain: What low-tech and no-tech strategies can be deployed to effectively support learning through this period?

REGISTER for the webinar:


WATCH The first instalment in the series:


Note to Editors:

The ‘Educating in Interesting Times’ Webinar series coincides with the launch of Jakes Gerwel Fellowship’s New Graduate Teaching Fellowship stream from 8 April.The program is open to graduates who are under 30 years of age and are accepted into the PGCE stream at UP, UCT, WITS or UJ in 2021.Teachers and members of the general public can nominate aspirant teachers at http://apply.jgfellowship.org/nominations


Jakes Gerwel Fellowship is a full university scholarship that provides extensive mentoring and leadership development for top learners with a passion for teaching and education. At the heart of what we do is in nurturing expert teacher who embrace innovation and can lead the kind ofchange that our educational sector so desperately requires. In short, we want to make the strongest possible case and provide the greatest possible support for our best students to become our best future teachers.MISSIONJakes Gerwel Fellowship is an aspirational fellowship which identifies high potential students who, through financial support, high quality teacher education and professional induction, become expert teachers, educational leaders and social entrepreneurs who will lead system change to achieve quality education for all learners.


• Jakes Gerwel Fellowship nurtures a pipeline of high impact educators who innovate and lead change.
• Founded in 2017
• Fully funded by Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment
• Chairman of the Board is Professor Jonathan Jansen
• Current cohort of 70 students at UCT and UP
• Focus on high school teachers.
• Candidate Fellows pursue an undergraduate degree followed by a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education)
• Offering over 60 full scholarships in 2020
• Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship applications for Gr 12 and 1st Year students
• New Graduate Teaching Fellowship stream launching on 8th April 2020 and is open to graduates who are under 30 years of age and are accepted into the PGCE stream at UP, UCT, WITS or UJ in 2021
• Teachers and members of the general public can nominate aspirant teachers at http://apply.jgfellowship.org/nominations

For further Information & Inquiries:
For more information visit: www.jgfellowship.org
Media Contact : Sihle Magubane, Email : communications@jgfellowship.org
Phone: 079 943 9545