Western Cape education MEC is a health fanatic.
As well as being high on fitness, life and health, Cameron Dugmore is also a persuasive character. Ask Deputy Education Minister Enver Surty.
Surty was supposed to have joined Dugmore and athletes Elana Meyer and Johan Landsman yesterday on a health awareness and education run, which the provincial education MEC aptly nicknamed For The Sake of Our Lives Campaign.
On for about two weeks now, the campaign has seen Dugmore and senior provincial Education Department officials driving to a school, checking on its progress and then hitting the road by running or walking to another school to do the same.
Dugmore's message to pupils, teachers, school governing bodies and parents is, healthy bodies create healthy minds. He said the campaign would take place between 7am and 8am, "resulting in no loss of vital school time".
Dugmore told an audience of the top three winners of the Aggrey Klaaste Mathematics, Science and Technology Educator of the Year Awards in Newlands at the weekend that the campaign's objectives are to promote running clubs at schools and link initiatives around school safety, nutrition and community-based school projects.
In all, 19 teachers were nominated by pupils, teachers, governing bodies, parents and departmental officials.
Worcester Primary School teacher, Johanna Griesel, won the general education and training (GET) category. Griesel was one of nine nominees. South Peninsula High School teacher, Zaid Baker, pipped five other hopefuls in the further education and training (FET) section. Denise Ontong won the retired teachers' category. Griesel, Baker and Ontong will represent Western Cape in the national finals in Johannesburg on March 22.
On Monday Dugmore, Meyer and Landsman ran from Rylands School in Cape Town to ID Mkize School in Gugulethu. Today they will run from Dr Nelson Mandela School to Zola School in Khayelitsha. Tomorrow they will run from Zola School to Joe Slovo School and on Friday they will run from Joe Slovo School to Bulumko School.
Leading by example is Dugmore's motto. Recently he used two minutes of his five-minute keynote speech to demonstrate a power lap at the launch of a national swimming tournament.
Dugmore also leads by example in mathematics, physical science and technology by throwing his weight behind both public and private entities' efforts to improve the lot of teachers and pupils in these crucial subjects.
He is passionate about the specialised maths, science and technology schools established as part of the national strategy for the subjects and known as the Dinaledi Schools.
Sadly, some of the schools have been performing poorly. But, Dugmore said he, Education Minister Naledi Pandor and the other provincial education MECs who make up the council for education ministers, decided to give poorly performing Dinaledi Schools nationwide one more chance. Five more Dinaledi Schools were added in Western Cape, bringing the province's tally to 55.
After paying tribute to Aggrey Klaaste, Sowetan's founder of the nation-building philosophy and ongoing work, Dugmore said the yearly award helps to motivate, inspire and encourage teachers and pupils to strive for excellence in this key learning area.
Dugmore said the award augmented the ongoing motivation, inspiration and encouragement of teacher excellence, dedication and determination of the yearly National Teaching Awards.