University, Newsletter
31 March 2021

Dr Makgaleng's research field is about mathematical knowledge developments during transitions. His study focused on: The Political, Economic, Cultural dimensions of the mathematics knowledge during transition; and the concept of Matheracyas a new approach to mathematics intervention programmes.

"I intend to contribute to the development of new knowledge in the mathematics education space. My contributions should assist the continent of Africa to unlock African knowledge to the world, thus becoming one of the best continents in mathematics, science, and technology education," he says.

The road to his PhD was not easy. It consisted of uncomfortable windings but through perseverance and hard work he managed to finish his studies in record time. He says there were instances where he felt like giving up, but was always guided by his inner strength. 

"I was also supported by a remarkable supervisor, Prof Mwakapenda. I will always feel indebted to him. He believed in me and motivated me to remain positive and enthusiastic about completing my studies. I have been supported by the research office through continued research writing workshops to assist on how to write a proposal to writing of a thesis. I would like to extent my words of gratitude of my first year students in plant production and their lectures for participating in the study. Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Vice-Chancellor Prof Thoko Mayekiso for giving me clearance to conduct the study using UMP students and the lecturing staff in plant production," he says. 

With a teaching career spanning several decades, Dr Makgaleng joined UMP, which he describes as his home away from home, in 2016. After completing matric in 1993, he enrolled for a Senior Secondary Teachers Diploma (STD) at Naphuno College of Education in Tzaneen.

"I started teaching in 1997 and have 20 years’ teaching experience in secondary Mathematics and Physical Sciences in the FET phase. I also worked as a project coordinator for Maths Centre Incorporating Sciences responsible for primary school teachers’ development in mathematics, amongst other roles.”

With his extensive experience and a formidable track record in his field, Dr Makgaleng has the following advice not only for students and scholars of maths, but for anyone wishing to advance their tertiary career.

“Always have your dream as your vision. There is no easy road to success academically. You need to be self-disciplined, enthusiastic and committed. You need to work hard and have a positive mind-set. There will be challenges every step of the way and those challenges will be different for each individual. Have a strategy to balance work and studies.”

Dr Makgaleng grew up in the dusty rural area of Apel (Mankotase Village) in Limpopo. Though mostly taught by under-qualified teachers who were not professionally trained, he has always had a love for mathematics.

“During the apartheid system of education, our schools were not adequately resourced with learning and teaching materials. We used to learn mathematics under the trees as classrooms. We used to be taught mathematics without any textbook to refer to. Despite these unbearable learning and teaching conditions, I prevailed and mathematics has always been my first love.”

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures McJoelington.