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Two PhDs in any one family are impressive, but even more so when the two recipients complete the same degree, at the same time – while both managing full-time jobs at the same institution.
Zimbabwean married couple and parents of four, Canisius and Ennie Manyumwa, who have each spent 34 years as educators, will receive their PhDs in Education from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, on April 13.
“It is a wonderful accomplishment,” said Canisius, 57. “We are deeply excited by the fact that we both completed the studies at the same time. We hope to competently carry out seminal research in education and meaningfully participate in grooming other upcoming doctoral candidates.”
Both teachers by profession, Ennie, 56, spent 23 years teaching at three primary and two high schools, then two years lecturing at a teacher education college. Her husband spent 11 years in three high school teaching posts, then 12 years as a college lecturer. They now both work at Midlands State University in Gweru: Canisius since 2005, and Ennie since 2007.
For her thesis, 56-year old Ennie, touched by her own experiences of teaching and supervising students with visual disabilities, decided to focus on: “A framework for the inclusion of students with visual impairment in a State University in Zimbabwe.”
Canisius chose to research: “Teaching for criticality: An analysis of the current status at two teacher education colleges in Zimbabwe.” He looked specifically at whether critical thinking and the use of critical pedagogy were encouraged in these colleges, out of concern that much of the education processes had maintained transmission-based approaches (where the educator transmits the required knowledge to the student).
The couple encouraged each other throughout their research. “Each one was the other’s most prominent sounding board, and we discussed our work whenever need arose,” said Canisius. “However, for the greater part, we each concentrated on our own thesis, even when we sat opposite each other across the same table in the family study for hours and days on end.”
They took three years to complete their degrees. “We did extensive commuting in the first two years. There was more communication via e-mail in the third year when we worked on finalising the theses.”
The pair selected NMMU, based on the institution’s website, and the “very inspiring accounts” of colleagues who had studied there before them.
“We feel profound gratitude for the friendly and academically very enriching environment that made our stay and study at NMMU a truly memorable experience.
“We were overwhelmingly impressed by the initial reception we got when we first arrived at NMMU … and we were touched by the professional and all-inspiring conduct of our promoters throughout the studies.”- NMMU

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