Teaching bursaries available in South Africa


Teaching is the cornerstone of development and growth within a country, it is for this reason that there remains a growing demand for qualified teachers in South Africa.

Teaching is the cornerstone of development and growth within a country, it is for this reason that there remains a growing demand for qualified teachers in South Africa. This growing demand is not without problems, as the education system continues to be riddled with complexities relating to the quality and accessibilty of education.

The Department of Education has put measures in place in order to help meet the growing demand for qualified teachers, however, this demand is not met by an adequate supply of teachers.

The public school system faces many problems, such as: overcrowding, lack of learning materials and poor quality of teaching. In 2019, STATSSA revealed that there is an average of 31 students per teacher in a public school.

This is in contrast to the average of 11 students per teacher at an independent school. It is evident that along with the need for more schools to be built, more teachers are needed in order to accomodate large numbers of students at public schools. 

What teaching bursaries are available in South Africa?

In 2019, STATSSA found that more than 51% of individuals, aged 18-24 years old, were unable to afford funding for their tuition fees. The government has therefore made teaching bursaries available to eligible students who do not have the means to fund their studies, but wish to pursue a career in teaching.

The Funza Lushaka bursary and the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) bursary, are among the popular teaching bursary options available to students who are aspiring teachers. 

The Funza Lushaka bursary is funded by the Department of Education, it was established in order to facilitate the growing need for qualified teachers in South Africa. The bursary is only open to students who are South African citizens, it aims to assist students in obtaining a teaching qualification in subjects that are areas of national priority, such as: Mathematics and Physical Science. 

The bursary requires its recipients to teach at a public school for the same number of years they receive funding from the bursary. 

ISASA makes teacher internship bursaries available to aspiring Further Education and Training (FET) teachers, the internship is particularly aimed at teachers who specialize in Mathematics and Sciences. The ISASA bursary is also known as the Southern African Mathematics and Science Teacher Intern Programme (SAMSTIP).

The bursary is open to candidates who are interested in studying a four year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree, or a one-year Post Graduate Certificate (PGCE) in Education. Recipients of the bursary are required to study through UNISA for the duration of their degree.

How to get a teaching bursary in South Africa

Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic performance, so always make sure that your grades are exemplary. In order to qualify for a teaching bursary in South Africa, you need to be a South African citizen with a valid South African ID number. 

The Funza Lushaka bursary requires candidates to meet the minimum requirements, which vary, depending on whether or not the student is entering university for the first time, or if they are already a university applicant.

If you are entering university for the first time, you need to have passed matric, and have a minimum level 4 pass in the subject that you wish to specialize in. If you are a student already at university, you need to have an average of 55% accross all of your modules.

If you are intending on applying for the PGCE bursary and intend to teach the Foundation Phase, you need to have majored in Psychology and an African Language.

If you intend on teaching any phase above the Foundation Phase, you need to have majored in the subject that you wish to specialize in, and have 2 national priority subjects at a second year level. The ISASA bursary requires all applicants to have an average of 60% or above in English, Mathematics and Life Sciences.

All university students are required to have credits in Mathematics and Sciences, and all graduates are required to have majors in Mathematics or Science. It is important to keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements, therefore, meeting these requirements does not guarentee that you will receive a bursary.

It is also important to submit your application before the deadline of your preferred bursary, in order for your application to be considered. 

What do the teaching bursaries cover?

The Funza Lushaka bursary covers tuition, accommodation, meals, books and learning materials. In addition to the expenses that the bursary covers, a small allowance for monthly allowance for living expenses will be provided, if possible.

The ISASA bursary covers UNISA tuition, textbooks, transport, accommodation allowance and provides a small stipend. 

The Funza Lushaka and ISASA bursaries allow you to get the experience you need to educate the leaders of tomorrow, and cement the cornerstone of development and growth in South Africa. Consider applying today. Applications for the respective bursaries are available online.