Funza Lushaka Bursary Requirements 2024 Revealed

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Funza Lushaka Bursary Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

The prestigious Funza Lushaka Bursary program provides comprehensive support to aspiring teachers who are passionate about education and committed to teaching key subjects in under-resourced South African schools. With funding from the Department of Basic Education, the bursary covers the full cost of studying towards a teaching qualification and includes a stipend to support living expenses.

In return, recipients are required to teach at a public school for the same number of years that they received the bursary. This ensures a consistent pipeline of motivated, high-quality teachers giving back to the communities that need it most.

If you have a heart for education and meet the eligibility criteria below, the Funza Lushaka Bursary could be your ticket to achieving your teaching dreams while uplifting the nation. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know.

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What is the Funza Lushaka Bursary?

The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme is a multi-year bursary scheme introduced by the Department of Basic Education in 2007. It aims to attract talented, passionate individuals into the teaching profession and strategically equip them to teach key scarce skills and subjects.

The bursary covers all the costs related to obtaining an approved teaching qualification at any of South Africa’s public universities. This includes:

  • Full tuition fees
  • Accommodation including meals
  • Learning materials
  • Monthly allowance for other living expenses

The bursary is awarded on a year-by-year basis, provided the recipient meets the annual academic performance criteria. It can be used to study towards a:

  • Four-year Bachelors of Education (BEd) teaching degree
  • One-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

In return for the support received, recipients are required to teach at a public school for the same number of years that they received the bursary.

This creates a win-win situation whereby deserving students receive comprehensive support to become qualified teachers, while the Department of Basic Education gains a loyal pipeline of competent teachers deeply committed to serving local communities.

Did you know? Since its introduction in 2007, the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme has supported over 100,000 student teachers in total. Of those who started teaching in 2008, approximately 65% are still teaching in public schools after 10 years.

The bursary specifically targets select priority subject areas that are most urgently in need across South African schools nationwide. These include:

  • Mathematics
  • Physical Science
  • Accounting
  • Technology subjects
  • Languages

Let’s look at the detailed Funza Lushaka bursary requirements for new applicants.

Eligibility Criteria and Requirements

The eligibility and selection criteria ensure that the limited funding is strategically awarded to deserving candidates who demonstrate excellent academic ability as well as a genuine passion for education.

You can apply for the Funza Lushaka bursary if you meet the following baseline criteria:

South African Citizenship

Only South African citizens are eligible since bursary recipients are expected to contribute back to the national schooling system.

Age Limit

You need to be 30 years or younger in the year that you apply to allow for several years of quality teaching after graduation.

Academic Requirements

You are required to have completed Matric OR the equivalent high school qualification with good grades:

  • Matric Exemption: Bachelor’s, Diploma or Higher Certificate endorsement
  • Senior Certificate: Complete exemption or endorsement to study at Bachelor’s level
  • NTC III or N3: Diploma or Higher Certificate endorsement

Besides the overall performance, you also need to have excelled specifically in the teaching subjects you plan to specialize in:

  • Level 4 minimum in two of the Funza Lushaka priority subjects you intend teaching
  • At least 55% average across all modules in your final year of previous study towards a teaching qualification (if applicable)

Tertiary Studies

You must have applied and been accepted into an approved teaching qualification specializing in priority scarce skills subjects at an accredited South African public university.

The supported qualifications are:

  • BEd degree: Specializing in at least 2 priority subjects
  • PGCE: Specializing in at least 1 priority subject
  • Extensions of programmes are NOT eligible

Commitment Requirements

Since the bursary investment is substantial, you are required to seriously commit to a career in teaching and giving back through public service.

Hence, besides meeting the minimum criteria above, you need to demonstrate:

  • Excellent academic ability
  • Genuine passion for teaching
  • Willingness to teach at any school assigned by the Provincial Education Department for the same duration that you received the bursary

Essentially, the Funza Lushaka bursary aims to equip committed, high-caliber students to become competent, passionate teachers serving communities that need it most.

Additional Criteria

Bear in mind that specific universities may set additional requirements for students who wish to apply for the Funza Lushaka bursary through their institution. So, ensure you understand their specific criteria.

For example, some universities require that you first obtain provisional acceptance into their BEd or PGCE programme before allowing you to apply. They may also set their own academic performance thresholds.

Top Tip: Start preparing your bursary application as early as possible in the year to give yourself sufficient time to meet all the requirements.

Now that we’ve covered the standard eligibility and entry criteria, let’s look at the step-by-step application process and selection considerations.

How to Apply for the Funza Lushaka Bursary

The Funza Lushaka bursary application process involves two key steps:

1. University Application

Firstly, you need to apply to your chosen university for your teaching qualification, whether it’s the BEd degree or PGCE programme. Meet their specific entry and performance requirements.

Obtain your provisional student acceptance letter before proceeding to the bursary application.

2. Bursary Application

Once you have provisional acceptance into an accredited teaching qualification, you can proceed to apply for the actual Funza Lushaka bursary funding.

Deadlines: Bursary applications typically open around May-June every year with advertised deadlines around October. Confirm exact dates in advance on the DBE website.

The bursary application process requires submitting the following documents:

  • Completed bursary application form
  • Certified copy of your ID
  • Proof of university admission
  • Latest academic transcripts
  • Motivation letter

You submit these to the Funza Lushaka bursary office at your chosen university. The institution scrutinizes and verifies applications before selecting and recommending best candidates based on Merit AND National Priorities to the DBE.

Ultimately, the Department of Basic Education makes the final bursary award decisions guided by the universities’ endorsed nominations.

Selection Criteria and Allocation Process

The selection criteria aims to identify high-caliber applicants with excellent academic ability plus a demonstrated passion for teaching important subjects in under-resourced schools.

Selection is guided by the following principles:

Merit
Excellent Matric grades related to teaching subjects which indicate academic ability. Recent tertiary academic performance also considered.

Teaching Subject
Priority given to scarce skills teaching subjects vital for national development:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Accounting
  • Technology
  • African Languages

Equity & Representivity
Selection considers representivity criteria such as gender, disability, and socio-economic status.

Area of Origin
Allocation aligns bursary recipients to schools in their home province to encourage commitment to local community upliftment.

Teaching Experience
Some consideration given to applicants with some prior teaching experience in rural or township schools.

The allocation process aims for an optimal skills-based distribution of recipients across different provinces and teaching specializations.

Specifically, the Funza Lushaka bursary committee considers:

  • Provincial teacher supply and demand per subject
  • Language competence and cultural affiliation
  • Equity and gender representivity per province
  • Applicant merit/academic ability per subject

Top candidates are then selected based on alignment with provincial needs. The bursary award decisions strive for fair, equitable distribution to ensure a consistent pipeline of quality teachers are feeding into all local communities nationally.

Core Responsibilities as a Recipient

The generous Funza Lushaka bursary funding does come with crucial conditions that uphold the values of commitment to education and community upliftment through teaching.

As a recipient, you are required to:

  • Maintain academic performance: Achieve at least 65% average per year.
  • Graduate successfully within record time.
  • Register as a teacher with SACE upon graduation.
  • Take up a teaching post at a public school anywhere in South Africa as allocated by the Provincial Education Department.
  • Complete compulsory service years: Teach at the school for the same duration that you received the bursary funding.

Essentially you commit full-time to teaching at a public school for a minimum of 4 years up to a maximum of 5 years.

Career Opportunities After Graduation

The Funza Lushaka Bursary programme is designed in a way that sets you up for a rewarding long-term teaching career even after completing your compulsory service years.

Your BEd or PGCE qualification is recognized and respected nationally. Hence, after fulfilling your service years within the public schooling system, you have the flexibility to explore career advancement opportunities such as:

  • Continue teaching at public schools provided there is an ongoing need.
  • Apply for promotion posts at the school, district, or provincial level.
  • Transition into the private education sector e.g. independent schools.
  • Pursue your postgraduate degree specializing in your field of passion e.g. Curriculum Studies.

Essentially, as a Funza Lushaka graduate equipped with a top-quality teaching degree, recognized experience and a passion for education – the possibilities are endless!

Moreover, you will have the immense satisfaction of knowing that you helped uplift the lives of so many underprivileged learners with access to quality education during your years of service.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, the prestigious Funza Lushaka Bursary program remains the most comprehensive source of funding for aspiring teachers with a heart for education and nation-building.

If you meet all the eligibility criteria and selection principles, it provides a life-changing opportunity to access an excellent teaching qualification while receiving a living allowance.

In exchange, you get to meaningfully develop your career by sharing your skills and knowledge with schools facing dire shortages of motivated, competent teachers. Ultimately, investing in teacher excellence leads to greater equity and quality learning opportunities for our future leaders.

To conclude, here is a recap of my top tips for making your Funza Lushaka bursary application a winning one:

  • Start preparing early – give yourself sufficient time to meet all requirements
  • Understand selection priorities – tailor your application accordingly e.g highlight relevant experience
  • Excel academically – achieve highest possible grades
  • Showcase your passion – communicate your motivation in the cover letter
  • Apply to multiple universities – improve your chances of success

I wish you all the best as you pursue your teaching career dreams with the Funza Lushaka headstart! Please reach out if any outstanding questions.

Funza Lushaka Bursary Requirements FAQs

What are the priority teaching subjects for the Funza Lushaka bursary?

The priority subjects that attract the bursary each year include: Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, Civil/Mechanical Technology & Technical Maths/Science, as well as African languages.

Do I need to pay back the bursary funding?

No, you do not need to repay the costs covered – on condition that you fulfill the full service period by teaching at a public school for as many years as you received the bursary.

Can I renew the bursary every year?

Yes, the Funza Lushaka bursary is renewable each year provided you continue to meet the academic criteria by maintaining at least 65% pass average and remain within the maximum timeframes for completing your teaching qualification.

What if I fail to obtain 65% annual average?

You may forfeit the bursary if you achieve below 65%. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, you can motivate in writing for leniency to the Funza Lushaka appeals committee.

Who provides my placement for teaching after graduating?

During your final year of study, the Funza Lushaka office advises your Provincial Education Department to place you at a suitable public school upon graduating and registering with SACE. Placements aim to match teacher subject specialities with community needs.

Can I appeal if I get declined?

Yes. If your initial bursary application gets rejected, you may appeal to the Funza Lushaka Bursary Appeals Committee. Submit supplementary documentation addressing any shortcomings evident in your original unsuccessful application.

Can I change universities during my teaching degree? Only under exceptional, well-motivated circumstances would transferring universities be entertained. You would need both universities’ approval and arrange transfer of bursary contractual obligations.

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