Maritime Teachers Training Workshop participants during their visit to the shipyard.
UKZN’s Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies in partnership with the eThekwini Maritime Cluster and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) recently hosted a Maritime Teachers Training Workshop to empower high school educators.
The workshop saw 27 educators from all over the province who teach maritime studies at a secondary level benefit from a four day theoretical and practical learning experience.
The first two days involved the educators being taught about maritime transport and economics by Maritime Law Expert and Unit Head, Professor Trevor Jones. As well as aspects of Maritime Law with a special focus on materials facilitated by Law academic, Mr Langa Dlamini.
The practical elements of the workshop incorporated the educators being taken on an operations tour of the Durban Port and a trip on board the Isponono ferry to show maritime economics at work. The educators also went on a field trip to Zac Pack, a Container Freight Station to see how a shipyard operates.
Commenting on the workshop, Jones said that it is important for educators to be empowered with knowledge on maritime as most of them do not have a background in maritime and are not aware of the various career opportunities available to students in the maritime field.
‘This workshop is important as most of the teachers have never studied maritime and they brought questions from students on the focus areas they would like us to address so we are responding to what the students’ need to know. Through taking the educators to the port and the Southern African shipyard we are showing the careers and opportunities their students can pursue in maritime which is in line with operation Phakisa,’ explained Jones.
The remainder of the workshop which was carried out by DUT’s Department of Maritime Studies saw the educators being taught the nautical aspects of maritime.
Educators, Ms Jabu Chonco from Port Shepstone’s BonguZwane High School and Ms Ntokozo Mkhize from Newscastle’s Phendukani High School said the workshop has not only given them valuable information which will benefit their students but it has motivated them to consider studying maritime.
‘We have learnt about how the port operates and the challenges they face as well as the role of seafarers which is a career most of our students are interested in. This learning experience has highlighted why maritime is so important to the economy and has made me want to study a course related to maritime as I am definitely passionate about it,’ said Chonco.
Mkhize added that as most of their learners come from rural areas, they have never even seen the port or the sea hence getting the opportunity to visit these sites will make explaining these concepts simpler.
‘Maritime is a broad field and we as educators lack information about most of the opportunities the students can benefit from. Being part of this workshop has opened me up to new possibilities about the various careers in maritime and I can’t wait to share them with my students,’ she said.