Change the world


“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for years.” This Chinese proverb is the personal philosophy of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) PhD graduate Paul Tai-Hing. 

Dr Paul Tai Hing flagged by his supervisors, Prof Chris Adendorff (left) and Prof Miemie Struwig.

His thesis, supervised by Prof Miemie Struwig and co-supervised by Prof Chris Adendorff, is titled “A Framework to Implement Social Entrepreneurship Activities in Higher Education” has been dedicated to the thousands of students he has taught and is yet to teach.

In his thesis, he highlights a series of case studies of social entrepreneurship projects that were implemented in the classroom of his first- and second year Management students.

These case studies explore the possibilities of how the classroom space and its students can be utilised to set up social enterprises, to be used to improve the conditions of the many disadvantaged and disenfranchised communities within which the university exists.

From the case studies a framework was developed to implement social entrepreneurship activities in the higher education environment.

His framework includes five steps, namely motivation and inspiration to develop social enterprises in the classroom, student involvement in creating and developing a product for sale, use of appropriate teaching strategies to provide the learning experience, adequate mentoring and the control and assessment of the social enterprises. 

The Sunshine Project, which aims to break the chains of poverty through education, was borne from teaching entrepreneurship to his students. The project where students start a simulated business, in order to generate a profit, makes use of this framework.

Communities have benefitted from the profits generated from the various education-based projects, which have been undertaken and successfully completed.

These projects include everything from building toilets for primary schools, starting a library, replacing broken window panes to cash donations and general maintenance.

“My students have taught me humility and a deep respect for the power of education. I have no doubt that I am not able to change the world. However, through my students, I know I am able to make the world a more tolerable place within which to reside,” said Dr Tai Hing. 

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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