Mathematics educator Sharanjeet Shan – the recipient of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s inaugural Chancellor’s Medal – says her role as a “disruptive educational social entrepreneur” is necessary if South Africa is to advance its citizenry via education.
She believes that there is still insufficient urgency to meet the education crisis that faces the country, regardless of the numerous development debates that constantly take place.
A staunch Paulo Freirian (a teaching pedagogy in which learners are viewed as co-creators of knowledge, and not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge by teachers), Shan believes in promoting transformative education in a system that she sees as being framed by “conforming, informing and deforming education delivery”.
In recognition of her contribution to pioneering work in Mathematics Education in South Africa, and for tirelessly championing poor and marginalised communities, she will receive the Chancellor’s Medal in the discipline of Mathematics Education during one of NMMU’s graduation ceremonies, on April 13.
Shan was born and brought up in a deeply patriarchal Sikh society in the Punjab, India. At an early age, she registered to study medicine at Delhi University but, after falling in love with a student of another religion, her family arranged for her to be immediately married to a Sikh man in Britain.
After her “deportation” to the United Kingdom, she completed a basic qualification in mathematics education, followed by an Open University course in developing