MEET: Dr Cila Myburgh

Posted on September 11, 2020

“I want to be part of a solution that works towards inclusive, equitable and quality education for all,” says UP’s Director of Enrolment and Student Administration.

Lifelong learning is something that Dr Cila Myburgh has and continues to apply to her daily experience – and it’s something she hopes the younger generation will take up in order to move South Africa forward.

Tell us about your career since graduating from UP.

I joined the UP family in 1999 as a first-year student studying BCom Human Resource Management. I then did my honours and my master’s. Since 2002, I’ve been studying and working, first as a psychometrist and later as an industrial psychologist, offering various psychometric testing services to clients and consulting on HR-related matters. I was always very interested in psychometrics, and during this time, I developed an affinity for learning potential assessments.

In 2007, I started working at UP as an enrolment manager, primarily responsible for applications and admissions. Over the years, my portfolio grew, and currently I am the Director of Enrolment and Student Administration. My portfolio covers the full student lifecycle: from applications through to graduations and career services.

I also serve on advisory committees for the national Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology, and was appointed by the Minister of Basic Education as a council member for Umalusi and Chairperson of two national council committees.

In 2019, I graduated with a PhD from the Department of Human Resource Management at UP and have since been involved in both lecturing and supervising master’s students, focusing on the future world of work as part of the Strategic Human Resource Management module.

 To what extent did your studies at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences benefit you in your career and contribute to your success?

The access and exposure to a variety of modules such as Economics, Business Management, Informatics, even Statistics, in the general curriculum give students an excellent background and basic knowledge to enter the workplace for almost any career. 

Specialisation modules such as Organisational Development, Labour Relations and Managing Diversity offered in my master’s degree proved invaluable in terms of my career. These helped me to understand how organisations and people function within organisations as well as relevant legal frameworks. 

I love working in higher education, and I can safely say that my educational background helped – and continues to help – me greatly in matters related to my work and what I envision for myself in future.

What advice can you pass on to current students? 

Students starting with a qualification don’t always understand why they have to take modules that aren’t relevant to their degrees. However, learning to deal with the “things I don’t like” is critical in achieving long-term success. It means that in addition to commitment and hard work, students also learn that tolerance and sacrifice are important to achieve success.  

What do you think is the foundation of a successful career?

The strongest element in the foundation of a successful career would be a career goal or “wanting to become”. It has been shown over and over again that a strong will to achieve a goal is the driving force behind success. Focusing on a goal changes one’s perspective of challenges into opportunities, as opposed to threats. You then have a chance to innovate, reinvent and recreate yourself in order to achieve your goals.

When you experience difficulties, look at the situation from different perspectives. Don’t burn bridges, instead build relationships, and always keep learning about work, people and life. You need to remain grounded so that you maintain your focus on what you want to achieve while staying true to yourself.

  What inspires and motivates you personally?

I am inspired and motivated by being of service to others. I want to help others reach their goals. I believe in potential rather than actual skills, and I want to create opportunities for others to believe in their own potential to achieve success. 

If you could have a face-to-face meeting with an inspiring person who sets an example in transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?

I would want to meet António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Apart from learning from his wealth of experience, I would want the opportunity to convince him to appoint me as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Project office. Not enough attention is given to the SDGs, and if I could make a difference in the world, I’d want to do it through Goal 4: to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

What are your personal/career goals?

My dream is to be part of a system that ensures access to quality education for all. Living in a country of extreme inequality in terms of access to quality education from young to old makes this goal very real for me and personally drives me towards wanting to be part of a solution that works towards inclusive, equitable, quality education for all.

What is your hope for South Africa?

That we can start building up the country step by step, firstly through ensuring that all South African children have access to basic education taught in a language they understand. Children must be protected and be safe in and around their schools, and they should be given healthy, nutritious meals as many of them will only have this one meal a day. 

From basic education, we should develop a differentiated secondary education system that offers development and learning opportunities for all and will result in an inclusive higher and further education and training sector that will, in turn, fundamentally change the South African landscape.


This piece has been extracted from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences site.


- Author Liesl Oosthuizen

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