Phuti Ragophala has been named South Africa’s “Super Teacher of the Year 2011” by the Internet Service Providers` Association of SA (ISPA).

Ragophala, from Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo, was one of eight finalists identified by ISPA as having best utilised their newly-acquired computer skills knowledge for the benefit of their communities after participating in ISPA’s “Train the Teacher” Initiative.

The 10th anniversary of this initiative also saw two new awards presented for the first time. Fiona Wallace, chairman of ISPA’s Teacher Training Working Group, presented Sonnyboy Baloyi with the Trainer of the Year Award while Barbara Heron, of Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg, and Mmipe Mokgehle, of Toronto Primary School in Limpopo, were named as ISPA ICT Champions.

Recognising the growing need for computer skills training and the importance of computer-literate teachers, ISPA established “Train the Teacher” in December 2001. To date, it has successfully trained 2 238 educators at more than 250 under-resourced and rural schools nationwide.

The annual “Super Teacher of the Year” Award invites educators to compete with projects through which they are promoting and developing computer skills in their own schools and communities.

Twenty-six projects were registered for the competition in the first phase of the awards. Each project was assessed according to the teachers’ use of newly-acquired computer skills in their own teaching practice as well as their use of their skills for the benefit of their colleagues, learners or wider community.

The other seven Super Teacher of the Year finalists were Thembi Mathobela, Adelaide Madiba, and Alpheus Mogashoa, all from Toronto Primary in Limpopo; Phuti Ragophala of Pula-Madibogo Primary in Limpopo; Maoto Setaole of Mountainview Senior Secondary School in Limpopo; Judi Le Roux of Coffee Bay Christian Comprehensive School in Eastern Cape; and MJ Poopedi of Thokgwaneng Primary School in Limpopo.