Another international honour for our VC

05 September 2022

Dear members of the UCT community

I write to congratulate our Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng for being awarded the inaugural Africa Education Medal. The Africa Education Medal is awarded to “an outstanding individual who has demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in the field of education”.

A field of 10 finalists, from countries and organisations across Africa, was assessed by an international panel of judges against the criteria of advocacy, impact and leadership in furthering the goals of education on our continent.

Professor Phakeng was recognised for having “shown exemplary leadership in her field, with her research illuminating how learners and parents are positioned in and by the power of English. Her work explores practices in mathematics learning that harness learners’ spoken languages while developing their mathematical English. This innovative work has highlighted those typically disadvantaged by their multilingualism in an English-dominant society and it has embraced the power of languages in learning”.

This award has been made possible by T4 Education, HP and Intel. T4 Education is a wide-ranging network that was founded in 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had already impacted 1.5 billion learners in schools and universities across the world. Today, T4 Education brings together some 200 000 teachers across 165 countries with the objective of contributing to the United Nation’s fourth Sustainable Development Goal – quality education for all by 2030.

The award of the first Africa Education Model to our Vice-Chancellor again recognises the impact of her work and leadership on the international stage. It follows on from her election to lead the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) from 2023 to 2025, during which the IARU Secretariat will be located at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Earlier this year, she was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Ottawa and she was Bristol University’s first Illustrious Visiting Professor. Her achievements make us all proud to be part of the UCT community.


Babalwa Ngonyama, CA (SA)
Chair of UCT Council

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