Prof’s passion takes her to new heights
“This award means so much to me. It is an extra compliment and honour for the work that I am doing.”
This is according to Prof Elda de Waal, currently the acting director of research at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Education and Human Rights in Diversity research entity (Edu-HRight). She was recently named as one of the most influential women in Africa.
She was honoured as life-long achiever for her contribution to teaching and training in the academic world. She received the award during a gala ceremony of the CEO Global Pan African Awards.
Prof de Waal said she was very surprised at her nomination for the award, as it did not come from the NWU. “I suspect it was from one of the school principals of the school districts in Limpopo where I helped a few schools to escape their difficult circumstances.
“My passion is to find solutions for schools from a place somewhere in the background to achieve a positive outcome before it spreads to a higher authority. My research therefore focuses on successful public schools, as the country cannot afford private education for everyone.”
Prof de Waal says the emphasis on successful schools is precisely on schools for every child, and her heart currently lies with the schools that do not have water or toilets.
During the past year she had contact with 871 schools in five provinces that trusted her enough to contact her even by phone when they experienced problems. Besides school principals and teachers there were even parents and learners who approached her for solutions.
Prof de Waal says that it is clear that the company also took her contributions to teaching and learning over a long period of time into consideration to award her this lifelong award.
She has been at the NWU since 2001, where she is appointed as a senior lecturer.
Her research fields include school effectivity, safety, educational challenges, social sciences, law, education law and legislation.
She has published several books, including a book on the right of farm-school learners to a basic education, the way to trump school bullies, the impact of teachers’ emotional intelligence, the basic human rights of teachers, and the relationship between teachers and learners in public schools.
Prof de Waal says her passion for the teachers at grassroots level is the most important part of her research, and to help improve the quality of rural schools.
The certificate that Prof Elda de Waal received.
Prof Elda de Waal with her two sons, Hannes and Louis, who were able to share the proud moment with their mother.