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Eager educator retires after 41 years

Neermala awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, 2007 and 2012.

School principal and teacher, Neermala Singh has retired after 41 years in education.

She has been in education on all different platforms, as a level one head of department, counsellor, deputy principal and was principal for 13 years.

Neermala has also served as a lecturer at the Durban University of Technology to post graduates in the department of commerce and administration.

The Paul Sykes Primary School principal has taught at seven different schools during her stellar career and also headed Nkukhu Primary School in rural Hibberdene. Residing in Isipingo, she travelled 250km daily and was instrumental in improving conditions at the school, including getting a road built to the property and upgrading the toilets. She was also the first non-black staff member appointed at the school.

At Paul Sykes she made significant changes to improve the staff’s performance and convinced the school’s guards to enrol and complete their matric.

“I’m very sad to leave,” said Neermala, who has four degrees and five diplomas to her name. “I still feel I have a lot to offer. In my retirement I will get involved in community and ministerial work.

I will continue to educate. I have a passion for my work. I will still help children, as nowadays they lack direction and they need help with their morals, values and spiritual growth, and they don’t receive any support from the community.”

Over the years Neermala has received many accolades for her passion for education. A highlight was being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, 2007 and 2012 at three of her last schools – Orient Hills Primary, Sezela Primary and Nkukhu Primary, and last year she finished third in the province as the top principal for her turnaround strategy at the latter.

“I will miss the children the most in my retirement. My love for children is what I enjoyed about teaching, and their innocence, and how much I could make a difference in their lives. I will also miss the educators and being able to uplift them.”

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