School of Education

Doctoral Research Explores Experiences of Rural Working Mothers Studying for University Degrees

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Research into the experiences of rural working mothers studying for degrees through university earned Dr Welile Msimango a PhD in Education from UKZN.

‘I didn’t choose the topic; the topic chose me. The intention was to understand their educational experiences and to find out what methods they used to address them,’ said Msimango.

‘As mothers, they have children depending on them, and as workers, their employers expect them to deliver regardless of their other responsibilities. Their stories inspired me in many ways.’

Msimango believes her study will benefit society, ‘The universities as developers of adult learning will learn about the challenges of adult students, in particular women who sacrifice everything to study. Rural women aiming to do degrees will learn how others on the same path cope with the challenges.’

She thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Thabo Msibi.

On her plans for the future, Msimango said: ‘I will visit schools to motivate learners and create awareness that education is the key to success. The Black community is still experiencing poverty and limited skills but there is no short cut. In order to alleviate poverty, learners must study, dropping out is not a solution.’

Her daughters Thobeka, Londiwe and Nothando said they were proud of their mother who was the first in the family to get a PhD. ‘Education is important in our family and mom has certainly raised the bar for the rest of us.’

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