During a recent virtual parliamentary session, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga provided a breakdown of the criteria used to determine the preferred subjects that applicants need to have to qualify for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme.
The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme, is a government-funded initiative aimed at promoting teaching as a profession. The programme offers financial support to first-time applicants who are 30 years old or younger. However, questions have been raised regarding the selection of preferred subjects and whether they vary across provinces.
Minister Motshekga explained that the Department of Basic Education uses various methods to identify priority subject areas for the allocation of Funza Lushaka Bursary funding. These subject areas are determined based on the need to replace teachers in the appropriate phase and subject specialization.
Additionally, consideration is given to newly introduced subjects, currently totalling approximately 26, which require a supply of new teachers. The Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) submit their respective priority subjects to the Department of Basic Education, and these lists are signed off by the Heads of Department. The department then consolidates the submissions to create a national list of priority subjects.
Motshekga confirmed that the preferred subjects to qualify for the Funza Lushaka Programme are determined on a provincial basis. This approach ensures that the bursary program aligns with the specific needs and demands of each province.
The DBE then disseminates the list of priority subjects to Higher Education Institutions, the South African Council for Educators (SACE), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and other stakeholders annually. This list serves as a reference point for those seeking information on the preferred subjects for the 2023 academic year.
She emphasised the department's commitment to transparency, as demonstrated by the provision of a composite list of subjects for anyone requiring it. This list enables prospective applicants and educational institutions to make informed decisions about the subjects covered by the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme.
The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme continues to play a vital role in attracting aspiring teachers and equipping them with the necessary support to pursue their academic goals.