Funza Lushaka Bursary - The Bursary For Teachers

The Funza Lushaka Bursary was established by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in collaboration with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Its primary objective is to provide financial support to students pursuing teaching qualifications, ensuring that the country produces qualified teachers in areas of high demand.

The bursary is designed to address the imbalance and shortages in specific teaching specializations. As a result, it emphasizes subjects like mathematics, science, and languages, reflecting the areas in which there's a dire need for skilled teachers. Other priority subject areas include some home languages that are short of teachers and teachers specialising in teaching learners with special educational needs.

What is Covered in the Funza Lushaka Bursary?

The Funza Lushaka Bursary is a comprehensive funding scheme that covers a significant portion of the student's academic expenses. This includes tuition fees, accommodation costs, books, meals, and, in some cases, a small allowance for monthly living expenses.

This responds to the latest research that has shown that students perform best when they have all that they need to perform well at university. If students are not in good accommodation and are worried about where their next meal is going to come from, they are unlikely to perform well in their studies. By providing such extensive support, the Funza Lushaka bursary ensures that bursary recipients can focus on their studies without undue financial strain.

Who Is Eligible For the Funza Lushaka Bursary?

To be eligible for the Funza Lushaka Bursary, applicants must:

  1. Be South African citizens

  2. Gain admission or be enrolled at an accredited public higher education institution in South Africa

  3. Commit to teaching in a public school for the same number of years they received the bursary

  4. Pursue a teaching qualification, especially in identified priority areas

Furthermore, preference is given to students who represent the demographic profile of South Africa, emphasizing the representation of those previously disadvantaged.

What Courses Are Covered By The Funza Lushaka Bursary?

There are two types of qualifications that are supported by Funza Lushaka.

Undergraduate studies or a 4-year Bachelor of Education degree (B Ed), specializing in Foundation Phase (Grade R – 3), Intermediate Phase (Grade 4 – 6), Senior Phase (Grade 7 – 9) and FET Phase (Grade 10-12); and

Graduate studies or One-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Combined qualifications are also acceptable such as combined specialization in the Foundation Phase (Grade R – 3) and Intermediate Phase (Grade 4 – 6), or the Intermediate Phase and Senior Phase, or the Senior Phase (Grade 7 – 9) and FET Phase (Grade 10 –12).

The priority areas that are funded by the Funza Lushaka bursary are:

Foundation Phase (i.e. Grades R-3) – Foundation Phase (with preference for African Languages)

Intermediate and Senior Phase (i.e. Grades 4-9) – Preference will be given for a teaching major in TWO of the following:

  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science & Technology

FET phase (i.e. Grades 10-12) – Preference will be given for a teaching major in TWO of the following:

  • Accounting
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Civil Technology
  • Computer Applications Technology
  • Economics
  • Electrical Technology
  • Engineering Graphics and Design
  • Geography
  • Information Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Physical Sciences, Languages, Technical Mathematics and Technical Science

Post-graduation Commitment

One unique feature of the Funza Lushaka Bursary is its post-graduation work obligation. You do not have to pay back any money for the Funza Lushaka Bursary. However recipients are required to teach in public schools for the same number of years they have been funded. For instance, if a student benefits from the bursary for four years while studying, they are expected to serve four years in a public school after qualifying.

This commitment not only ensures a return on investment for the state but also guarantees a steady supply of passionate and well-trained teachers in public schools, particularly in areas where they are most needed. You will be asked in which province you would like to be placed, but there is no guarantee that you can be placed in this province for your teaching commitment. This is because teaching positions are funded by the Provincial Education Department so it depends how many suitable positions are available in each province.

How To Apply For The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme

The application for the Funza Lushaka Bursary is typically made online through the dedicated Funza Lushaka portal at Applicants need to provide various documents, including academic records, proof of admission or registration at a tertiary institution, and other pertinent identification documents.

Once the bursary application is submitted, it undergoes a rigorous selection process, which evaluates not only academic performance but also the applicant's commitment to teaching and their choice of specialization.

Challenges and Criticisms of the Funza Lushaka Bursary

While the Funza Lushaka Bursary has undoubtedly provided many students with the means to pursue their teaching dreams, the program isn't without its challenges. Some critics point to the rigid post-graduation work obligation, which they believe can deter potential applicants. There are also concerns about the placement process, with some graduates feeling that they are not always placed in schools or areas of their preference.

A study conducted by the South African government's Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation has found that the Funza Lushaka Bursary is making an important contribution to the substantial increase in enrollment of students in teaching degrees. They also found that it has been very successful in attracting quality students to become teachers - and the majority go on to take up government funded posts at South African public schools.

Top Funza Lushaka Bursary Articles:

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