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Fontie studies for his Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Thailand

Willem van As is currently working on his Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Thailand

(Senior Phase- and Further Education, and Training-education), also knowns as PGCE, at Akademia. He studies via the after-hour study model’s e-learning option, which was recently created for students who are already working, are pursuing other interests, or who find themselves abroad.  

In 2008, he completed his Bcom degree in International Trade and Marketing at the North-West University (NWU)’s Potchefstroom campus and shortly after taught English as a foreign language in South Korea. After five years in South-Korea, he moved to the Northern Cape as a teacher. ‘During my time in Korea, the seed was planted that I must still complete my PGCE, but it was in the Northern Cape where I realised that it was essential,’ he said. After missing the application deadline for PGCE at Unisa, he moved to Wuhan in China where a school offered him a teaching position.

‘The plan was to live in China for only a few years, to complete my PGCE there and to return to South Africa, but then I met my future wife there, who is from Ukraine,’ he recounted. In January 2022, van As and his wife departed on a ten-day holiday from Wuhan and then heard that Wuhan was under lockdown due to Covid-19. ‘We then decided to come to Thailand for about a week, until the disease blew over, and we’re here to this day.’

He mentioned that he had been aware of Akademia for quite some time, and that he was glad to hear that they were presenting a PGCE qualification online. ‘It is exactly the qualification that I need to transition from teaching English as a foreign language to teaching Economic Management Sciences and becoming an economics teacher.’ He mentioned that he has had a very positive experience at Akademia from their very first interaction, and that he decided to complete his PGCE at this Afrikaans institution.

He said that the time difference does not hinder him from attending the online classes. ‘The Spens is a very useful platform for downloading the lectures and watching them again later,’ he said. All his textbooks are also available electronically, and he has had even had an opportunity to laze on the beach of the nearest Island, Koh Larn, and read through his favourite textbooks.

Thus far, he also enjoys his online exams. ‘There are numerous technical aspects that you need to get used to, but once you’re used to it, it is basically the same feeling as writing an in-person exam.’ Van As plans on completing his practical component of his PGCE in South Africa later this year or early next year, to which he looks forward a lot.

Van As’ advice to current as well as prospective PGCE students is to join the qualification’s informal WhatsApp groups. ‘There you often hear about other students who are in the same situation and you are able to help each other. The group makes it ten times easier and decreases the feeling of isolation a lot.’

Van As mentions that if you are considering any further studies, you must contact Akademia. ‘If it wasn’t for the encouragement I received from Akademia’s friendly recruiter, I probably would still only be talking about one day completing my PGCE—but now I’m doing it!’

Willem van As is currently studying his Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Akademia through the e-learning option.