Former Lilyfontein principal Dr Ian Galbraith recently walked away with the highly coveted
Kader Asmal Excellence Award at the recent National Teaching Awards ceremony.
Galbraith initially won the award at the 2019 Eastern Cape Teachers Awards. The Kader Asmal Award enables the minister of basic education to honour an outstanding educator embodying the core values that professor Asmal stood for, while also honouring Professor Asmal for his contribution to the development of education in SA.
“To be honest, I was not a brilliant student, but I loved learning about things and so decided to go study at the Graaff-Reinet Teacher’s College on a government bursary,” Galbraith said. “Through an emergent process, I evolved to enjoy what I was doing as an educationist and saw the benefits to others through what I was doing.
“The concepts of selflearning and self-leadership inspired me to share what I knew and what I could do.
“Whether this was in the classroom, coaching sport or in outdoor adventure activities, I grew through growing others,” Galbraith said.
Galbraith grew up at his parents’ hotel in Hogsback and is well-versed in isiXhosa, having spoken it from an early age.
“In my first degree I majored in isiXhosa at Rhodes University in 1979. “I was schooled in
Queenstown and matriculated at Graeme College in Grahamstown [Makhanda] in 1969, and then completed my Teacher ’s Diploma at Graaff- Reinet Teacher’s College from 1971 to 1974,” he said.
His impressive list of qualifications include a BA (Phys Ed) isiXhosa, a Bachelor of
Education and a PHD Psychology. After 42 years of working as an educator, Galbraith now
works as a private life-coaching practitioner.
“Dr Galbraith had the difficult task of leading a school that ranged from Grade 0 to Grade 12,” Lilyfontein Intermediate Phase educator Hayley McLaren said.
“He managed, over the years, to gain the respect of children both young and old, as
well as the teachers who had the privilege of being led by him.
“He is one of the wisest and most knowledgeable people I know and as a result, he was
able to give invaluable advice on a variety of topics. “He was passionate about the adventure ethos of our school and was so instrumental in laying the solid platform that we now enjoy.
“Most importantly, Dr Galbraith has a heart and passion for education and children, and I think it’s this that has had the biggest impact on the lives of both teachers and pupils over so many years at Lilyfontein.”
Lilyfontein Foundation Phase educator Cherie du Preez shared similar sentiments: “He encouraged us to grow and to try out new things, he had so much wisdom to share.”
With regards to the ongoing struggles facing education in the Eastern Cape, Galbraith said
teachers must rise to the challenge .
“Leadership is a key component and needs to be given priority exposure, together with subject capacity-building.
“All teachers, by the nature of their job, need to understand and embrace their leadership role. All teachers have a massive influence that impacts on any community.
“It is the self-leadership aspect within the character of any teacher that determines the
nature of influence that they will impart into their communities. “Self-leadership is about a
values-based attitude towards life. Hard work is never easy but is well rewarded,” he said.