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Alumni of the month - March 2013

Patience Mahlalela
MSc Education for Sustainability, 2012

Miriam Kennet

Having studied the MSc Education for Sustainability, Patience Mahlalela is currently working as Acting Country Manager at the British Council and is using her skills to improve the quality of education for the next generation in Malawi.

Patience, originally from Swaziland, knew the Education for Sustainability course was precisely what she was looking for to help make a difference in her native Africa: “When I read about the course content I knew it was just the course I needed at that stage of my career. I also loved the fact that it was by distance. I did not particularly want to go back to university full time but wanted to work and study at the same time.”
The British Council is an organisation specialising in international educational and cultural opportunities. Patience manages all aspects of the Malawi division which aims to connect people with learning opportunities from the UK and build lasting relationships with the southeast African country. The provision of good, quality education to young people in Malawi is fraught with challenges. Few students go on to secondary school or university and most begin work immediately after primary school.
Patience is motivated by these challenges: “I love my job. And that has become even more enriched by the knowledge and skills that I got through my studies at LSBU. I start every day with a will to succeed and make a difference. Knowing that through my work I have contributed to the betterment of education for the next generation gives me unparalleled satisfaction.”
Despite not being a full-time residential student on campus, Patience still viewed her experience at LSBU with fondness: “The MSc formed the basis for a very enriching and fun-filled experience. It was the most enlightening course I have ever done. It changed the way I view education and I now ask a lot of questions about the relevance of education, especially school education.” She has since taken advantage of social networking media to keep in touch with her classmates: “One of my colleagues set up a Facebook account for us and we stay in touch that way.”
Patience aspires to become an effective agent for positive change in learning and education relevant for sustainability in Malawi: “My long-term plans are to find a niche for myself and contribute to educational development – be it through formal employment or voluntary work. My goal is to get involved in curriculum design and help teachers understand how to incorporate mainstream issues of sustainability in their teaching.”