Muzila Brains behind Dawn Bell Academy
21 Jun 2022
As one grows up, they picture themselves being this and that, but as life happens some of the dreams are abandoned, some shattered with a few turning into reality.
One of those whose childhood dreams turned into reality is Ms Ndiko Muzila.
The dream began in 1996 at the age of 10 in the village of Nata, where young Muzila would always teach other children in makeshift classroom at her mother’s homestead after school.
Playing the educator helped some of Muzila’s ‘learners’ as they managed to turn their grades for the better and consequently modelling her career path.
She is now counted among those shaping Botswana’s educational landscape.
“The bigger picture did not show then, but I enjoyed teaching my peers and older friends,” said the 35-year-old Muzila, who is the founder and CEO of Dawn Bell Academy in an interview recently.
Dawn Bell Academy prides itself with four centres; three in Tlokweng and the other in Gaborone, 54 full-time teachers, and 544 registered students, 100 part-time students, and is still soaring.
She is a testament to the adage ‘Rome was not built in a day,’ which she evidently employed from a young age and has kept on marching.
Having derived so much joy from home schooling others, choosing her course of study at tertiary was not much of a challenge as her childhood dream propelled her to study Education.
In 2008 while doing her second year at the University of Botswana, Ms Muzila drew the plan of what she wanted to do and registered her business, her mind being in professional home schooling.
After graduating in 2012, when her peers looked for placements as secondary school teachers, she opted to be a temporary primary school teacher.
Working as a temporary teacher helped her amass experience needed for the cadre, hence in 2013 she got extra hands for her home schooling services while she offered tutorial services after work.
“Most of my home schooling students were foreigners, while Batswana were interested in tutorial services.
The system worked, so I decided to quit temporary teaching to focus on the business in 2015.”
In 2017 she was awarded studentship by Nelson Mandela Fellowship programme and used the opportunity to benchmark on how best to run home schooling as it is common in the US.
Upon her return later that year, she made up her mind to acquire her own property as rentals were costly.
As numbers grew and more people realised the benefits of home schooling and tutorial services, she knew without doubt that it was time to expand and she bought another property.
That enabled her to separate secondary from primary pupils.
She is passionate about creating a conducive learning environment and said she gave birth to this customised learning after having observed that the normal classroom setup did not cater for every learner with the assumption that each student learns at the pace of the teacher.
Her goal was to accommodate learners who were disadvantaged by the normal schooling system as an intimate environment seemed to make a difference for those who struggled in the normal setup, citing that it was then that the dream and passion to own a home-schooling academy sparked.
The success is evidenced by Dawn Bell Academy academic record, the secondary pass rate being 87 per cent while the primary is at 93 per cent.
The founder said some children displayed a lot of maturity for their age, some of whom could skip a grade given an opportunity, and those slow learners who could do with individualised learning outside the normal classroom setup.
“Some pupils at Standard Five can write Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) provided they have grasped the concepts.
We have a six-year-old doing Standard Three, so home schooling works.
Batswana have now embraced it too.”
Ms Muzila said they have transformed D and E grade pupils to grade A and B, which goes well with their slogan of The Students’ Home Away From Home.
Therefore, her strategic focus and business sense within the education space were to bridge the gaps presented to the latter by enrolling PSLE, BGCSE, and IGCSE candidates.
She said although there were certain government programmes in place, quality individualised education could be offered in a homely environment with dedicated professionals and qualified teachers for learners with special needs.
She maintained that their marketing strategies were centered around the quality and academic results attained by their pupils, which she explained to be a mere word of mouth, mentioning that Facebook advertisement formed their second vehicle to attracting their market share.
When asked whether she looked up to a certain mentor for guidance, Ms Muzila delightfully referenced her list of books as her best teachers to attain her wealth of wisdom and strategic goals.
The well-renowned author said her latest financial statements depict an annual turnover of approximately P4.5 million and a net worth of about P8.2 million from accumulated properties.
“Our value proposition is centered on the teacher-student ratio, which is 1:10 or less, which has helped in improving service quality.
Dawn Bell is a learning centre well known for individualised learning, where both a fast and slow learner can be in one space, but be assisted according to their respective needs,” Ms Muzila explained
She said the strategy positioned her business well in the market and helped the academy to scale up fast, thereby earning it more customers within a short spell.
Amidst her journey to building the academy, Ms Muzila helped open the Assemblies of God church in Rasesa, where she serves as a resident pastor.
As if that was not enough, Ms Muzila said in 2017 she scaled up her business and cultivate resilience through setting up New Dawn Publishers, which she had employed in authoring 43 books, 13 motivational and 30 educational.
She delightfully told BOPA that she wrote her first book at the age of 19.
Her motto being Becoming a Globally Competitive Centre for Academic Excellence, last year she acquired a chunk of land and is in the process of establishing an examination centre for their students, who have been using other centres as private candidates.
She said resilience remained a key factor because ‘doors will not automatically open for your new dream in a society that is already programmed’.
“It took all the levels of tenacity, excellence, and dedication to making people and authorities understand my dream,” she said. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Marvin Motlhabane
Location : Gaborone
Event : Interview
Date : 21 Jun 2022