Winner of the Stella Clark Teachers' Award, 2012

The winner of the 2012 award was Mr Phuti Ramarope from Sinthumule Secondary School in Limpopo. In her motivation, Hilda Khunoana, a first year student in Chemical Engineering, described Mr Ramarope as someone who is known and respected by every teacher in the village as the master of Life Sciences and Chemistry.

Mr Ramarope has been teaching since 1992 and his pass rate for life sciences has been 100% since 2008. The pass rate for Physical Sciences was 82.4% in 2010 and increased to 92% in 2011. These efforts have been recognised by a district-level Life Sciences Award.

At the awards ceremony, Hilda said that Mr Ramarope stands out for the “love, passion and knowledge” he has invested in his teaching. His school day starts at 6h30 each morning and he often teaches till 18h00, as well as on Saturdays. Hilda also paid tribute to his dedication to motivating the strongest and weakest students and described him as a father figure to many students and a role-model to younger teachers at Sinthumule and at other schools in the district. She described his exemplary leadership as a deputy-principle who pays meticulous attention to school management and to connecting to parents.

Mr Ramarope in turn spoke of the need to improvise when teaching subjects that require practicals at a short-staffed school with no laboratory or library. He had no problem stashing laboratory lizards and rats in his home refrigerator.