Matriculants who want to pursue a career in the teaching profession have an opportunity to fulfil their dreams as bursaries are being offered by the Department of Basic Education.
The SA leanerships website, which promotes government job and training opportunities, issued a notice this week that the department was offering bursaries to matriculants through the Funza Lushaka bursaries programme this year.
Those interested in this opportunity have until January 11 to apply.
The department offers students the opportunity to complete a teaching qualification in an area of national priority.
The recipients of the bursary will be expected to teach at a public school for the same number of years that they received the bursary.
The bursary will pay for registration fees, tuition fees, meals and accommodation.
Students will also be paid an allowance for their practical work.
While the website said there were more than 4000 bursaries available, Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said while the bursaries had been issued, they had not stipulated how many matriculants would benefit.
“We have bursaries every year and the figure that is there is not ours. We give bursaries on the basis of the budget available. We do not determine that beforehand.”
National Teachers’ Union president Allen Thompson said the bursaries were a good initiative, especially in light of the unemployment crisis. “There was a time when these were abused for corrupt ends, and people claiming that teachers were educated through these bursaries when in fact they were not just to prioritise them for employment,” he said.
He said the bursaries were no longer the source of conflict because the recipients were no longer given preference for jobs.
Previously the department of education in KwaZulu-Natal had insisted that they employ Funza Lushaka graduate teachers first.
Natu felt this was unfair because these teachers had already received the benefit of the bursaries, compared to those who had self-funded their education.
He said the department had been among the first to make written regulations that give equal employment opportunity to graduate teachers regardless of whether they had studied through the bursary scheme or not.