Engineer quits lucrative job to follow passion teaching kids

Engineer quits lucrative job to follow passion teaching kids

- Mavo Solomon gave up a lucrative career at Eskom in 2013

- He has three degrees from UCT but would rather give back to his community

- He say the Eastern Cape Education Department needs to do more for learners to prepare them for success outside of school

Mavo Solomon had a promising and well-paid career at Eskom before he decided to leave the public utility to pursue his passion for teaching disadvantaged school children in Queenstown.

Although Mavo has a BSc in Math and Science, a BSc in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, he opted to leave the unstable state-owned enterprise in 2013, believing that his knowledge and expertise could be better put to use in the community.

The rock music lover recalls that his community and classmates helped him when he was younger and struggling with Mathematics at school. Now, he is eager to be able to give back, found.

Mavo got involved in teaching youngsters when he decided to move back to the Eastern Cape, a province where employment is scarce. After teaching part-time for a while, he decided he wanted to pursue it as a full-time career.

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“I’d been doing this in Soweto, Kagiso and Cape Town. It always felt like I wasn’t doing much for Eastern Cape and I needed to come back and do something here,” Mavo told Destiny Man.

Hoping to save up some money, Mavo took up some consulting jobs before starting paid private tutoring. In 2017, he received some funding from Liquid Telecom, which was enough support to carry him through the year.

Impressed with kind-hearted efforts, Mavo’s friends would share information about school that could use good teachers in the Eastern Cape. Schools would also reach out to the engineer, hoping he could share his knowledge with their learners.

While Mavo’s work is an invaluable, he acknowledges that it is just a short-term fix to a gigantic structural problem with education in the country. He believes that the Education Department needs to improve the resources at schools, particularly in the Eastern Cape and needs to nurture the development of school teachers in rural areas.

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“If there are teachers in urban areas and townships, then they must make sure that they give incentives to them so that they can teach at the villages,” he says.

Mavo believes that a big problem with education in the Eastern Cape, is not just the content of mathematics that learners are failing to understand, but the fact that children are not taught how to learn the content and are not encouraged to see the value in education.

In a Facebook status, Mavo writes that he left an illustrious career as an engineer and academic “to come back to the poorest province and just teach mathematics to kids who do know any better but refuse the best help they’ll probably ever receive outside their teachers".

He further points out that the education system does not equip learners for future success, but just to pass through the system.

"Listening to Anathi [a student] complain he passed his first [year] but not with the flying colours he’s accustomed to is a reminder that high school doesn’t equip kids for university. Much as I tried to equip each kid I’ve encountered they refused the help. Distinctions conceal the effort required post high school," writes Mavo.

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