Department Redirects Funds From Funza Lushaka Bursary

With new subjects being introduced to advance the education curriculum in South Africa, many have raised concerns about what is being done to ensure that teachers are receiving the professional development they need.

Studies have indicated that not all teachers are qualified enough to provide quality education.

Results from an international benchmark test conducted, in which 41% of the country’s maths teachers participated, showed that the educators got as low as 41% for the test.

Education experts have questioned what measures are in place to ensure teachers coming straight from universities are adequately qualified to provide quality education in classrooms and how they are adapting to changes in the curriculum.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education met last week to discuss concerns raised around the capacity of South African educators to improve learners’ abilities in subjects such as maths, science, and technology.

The department noted that in terms of teacher competency, pre, and post-tests are being administered. They said this was not just for maths, science, and technology but other subjects.

These tests were ongoing, and the Department did not only rely on international benchmark tests but also administered its own tests. 

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, an audit conducted years ago revealed that many teachers were not equipped to teach math at the foundation and intermediate phases.

Therefore, the government along with the department introduced the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme in 2007 not only as a program to promote teaching as a profession but also to address this issue.

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The minister affirmed that the country has been successful in the development of maths and science.

Motshekga said the country is now at the stage, through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme, where there are not enough posts for teaching graduates.

As a result of this excess, the minister said she has instructed her department to redirect some of the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme funds toward maths and science development.

Furthermore, the minister also noted that her department does have working relationships with the Higher Education sector as it is responsible for the development of teachers.

Motshekga added, “The new cohort of teachers has benefited from improvements made since the establishment of a democratic South Africa. Teachers were not entering the field with degrees that come with strong content, as the students attended classes with medical and engineering students.”

She said that with experience and engagement with other colleagues, teachers could pick up techniques and methodologies to teach different topics.

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