Universities Urged To Offer Scarce Skills In Teaching Courses

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The education department has seen an increase in the demand for foundation phase teachers who are able to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. The Higher Education department is now working hand-in-hand with Basic Education in ensuring that the teaching offered at higher education institutions meets this demand.


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In a parliamentary meeting, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for higher education, Chantel King had revealed during oversight visits, that she has picked up that more and more teachers for STEM subjects are becoming scarce.

It has been reported that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has been encouraging universities to include coding and robotics in their teacher education qualifications and their programmes.

In a statement, the Higher Education Department explained:

Two universities have developed short courses in coding and robotics and some of the lecturers are attending these courses.

Whilst there are teachers who are being trained for these subjects if there is no ICT knowledge and skill, this might pose a bigger challenge in the future.

It is for this reason that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has been encouraging universities to include coding and robotics in their teacher education qualifications and programmes.

As Basic Education is aiming at supplying more teachers with the skills that are in demand, it has a teaching bursary, the Funza Lushaka bursary to help prospective teaching students in terms of funding their Bachelor of Education (BEd) and Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Senior Phase and FET teaching qualifications.

Through this bursary, future teachers are placed in national priority subject areas such as South African Indigenous Languages and STEM subjects from the Foundation Phase to the FET Phase.

King has also shared that during her teaching years, she had discovered that the number of learners taking STEM subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, and CAT were declining and education experts also believe that a plan needs to be orchestrated in ensuring that this is changed. 

Majority of the skills that are listed in the updated list of critical skills needed in South Africa are mostly in the science field.


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