A 27-year-old teacher from Nsezi Secondary School in Umzingwane district, Matabeleland South Province, is making use of the increasing availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by creating digital classes that have benefited over 6000 students nationwide.

Sindiso Sherperd Thwala, through his Sherperd Foundation Resource Centre, has established a ‘digital class’ encompassing six WhatsApp groups, each accommodating 1000 students, offering free history, Ndebele language, literature in Ndebele, literature in English, and geography lessons.

He has also set up a Facebook page and a YouTube channel to share study materials and conduct verbal lectures.

Thwala, whose influence has spread across the country, introduced the digital classroom concept during the Covid-19 pandemic, initially starting with students he taught while working as a temporary teacher at Sacred Heart High School.

In an interview with Sunday News, the former Mpopoma High School pupil said teaching is more of a passion and gift to him which he has somehow proven through hundreds of testimonies he receives from his former students.

“I started this initiative during the Covid 19 pandemic. The reason was that I wanted to help students whom I was teaching then at Sacred Heart High School.

By then I was tutoring Advanced level history and isiNdebele and I had nine students. The pandemic began to stretch leading to a delay in the opening of schools and I opened up the space to more students who were looking for teachers online as I was doing it for free.

“The groups continued to grow to the extent that I started recording lessons and posting them on my YouTube account and Facebook. At some point I was sharing lessons with more than 7 000 students on my WhatsApp groups.

This is assisting students around the country. Those without Wi-Fi l hope that they at least benefit from the WhatsApp groups where l record and offer learners lessons for free. I also post notes and pdfs in the groups. This means learners can enjoy learning on my WhatsApp platforms,” said Thwala.

Thwala has further partnered various stakeholders in hosting seminers where he further raises awareness on drug and substance abuse as well as offer career guidance.

“I have partnered various stakeholders to conduct seminars where beyond tutoring history we offer guidance and counselling as well as raise awareness on the dangers of drugs and substance abuse. I have several already lined up for this year. Next month I have partnered Kairos College in Bulawayo where we will host what we have termed a Mega ‘A’ level history seminar.

“During the same month, we will also have another Mega history seminar in Harare dubbed History with Dr Muso and I will be a special guest. The seminar will be held at the Museum of African Liberation and will comprise a tour of the museum as well as lesson on the Zimbabwean history from 1896-1980,” said Thwala.

Text/ image: Sunday News