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Ms Nomfundo Sibiya.

UKZN Education alumnus Ms Nomfundo Sibiya is the head of Horizon Education, an Edutech (education and technology) start-up business.

The company aims to bridge the gap in the South African education system by addressing the skills shortage in the manufacturing sector caused by the underperformance of South African students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

‘My mother, a teacher, inspired me to pursue a career in Education, helping me understand what it takes to be a teacher,’ said Sibiya. ‘My desire to advance the Early Childhood Development field led me to better understand educational psychology. Because of this, it has made it easier for Horizon Education to provide services and solutions tailored for different categories of learners which we believe will have a positive impact on them.’

In addition to the skills she acquired from being a member of UKZN’s experiential learning platform, Enactus, she learned a lot from her elder sister who was her inspiration and role model. ‘My sister is a resilient and purposeful woman who always encourages me to better myself and the community around me,’ she said.

Sibiya leads a team of 17 who are from various sectors including engineering, marketing, computer science, IT and commerce.

Horizon Education, which runs mainly drone and robotics workshops, has already held several successful events at schools around Durban. The company also offers mathematics tutoring services.

‘My journey so far as the CEO of Horizon Education has been filled with growth and learning. I have had to step out of my comfort zone and strive hard to realise my full leadership potential – not just for my personal development but also for the company to be successful,’ she said.

Horizon Education recently hosted its inaugural Edutech Summit in partnership with Innovate Durban. ‘The idea behind this conference was to foster collaboration between various stakeholders within the education technology space. We wanted to create an ecosystem in which businesses, innovators, and educational institutions could network and discuss working towards improving South Africa’s educational system through the use of technology,’ said Sibiya.

The event provided a platform for Horizon Education to showcase the work it has been doing with learners from Cato Manor. The learners underwent training in workshops on design thinking, robotics, electronics, and pitching, culminating in the youngsters presenting their solutions at the Edutech Summit.

Sibiya has this advice for students: ‘Take advantage of every opportunity. Instead of being terrified of failing, relish the opportunities. Success is often measured by what you have learned rather than by how well you performed a task or filled a role. Enjoy the experience and connect with the people around you. There is always information and knowledge out there for you.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied