Funza Lushaka Bursaries
The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme offers a wide range of bursaries for students wishing to pursue a career in teaching.
The Department of Basic Education is a major department of the South African government. Founded in 2009 following the election of President Jacob Zuma, the department is headquartered at Sol Plaatje house (named after the renowned black South African author and academic), and is responsible for the administration of primary and secondary education within South Africa. Prior to 2009, these duties were the carried out by a division of the Department of Education, which was subdivided in that year to create more focused departments that would oversee specific levels and types of education within the country.
The National Treasury is another governmental department that is responsible for managing the South African government’s finances, preparing the country’s annual budget, and managing overall economic policy for the nation. Together with the South African Revenue Service and Statistics South Africa, it falls under the management of the Minister of Finance. The National Treasury has been in existence since 1910, making it one of the oldest departments in the country, and one of the few to remain largely unchanged (structurally speaking) through the change in government following the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was established in the mid-1990s to address the problem of growing student debt and the inaccessibility of expensive tertiary education to previously disadvantaged students. First advocated by the National Commission for Higher Education, NSFAS was preceded by the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa (TEFSA), established in 1991. TEFSA was subsequently contracted to administer NSFAS, which was to be funded primarily by the South African government. Over the years since its establishment, NSFAS has met with mixed results, providing a large number of students with much-needed financial assistance, but falling somewhat short of its overarching goal of providing accessible tertiary education on a large scale.
Funza Lushaka Bursary Program Overview
The Funza Lushaka bursaries offer multi-year funding, and are comprehensive in their coverage. In exchange for this financial assistance, successful candidates will be required upon graduation to teach at a recognised public school for a period equivalent to the period of their studies.
Prospective candidates will need to meet a set of requirements, including South African citizenship, a strong academic record (a minimum of a 60% average on matric results), a history of personal integrity and commitment to the teaching profession, and full acceptance to a recognised tertiary institution for an appropriate field of study.
Funza Lushaka bursaries cover the full cost of tuition, including registration fees, examination fees, and other administrative costs. Accommodation at a university hostel or residence is also covered, as are textbooks, stationery, and other necessary equipment or study materials that may be required for the successful completion of studies.
A meal allowance for food provided by the institution at which the candidate is enrolled is also included, along with a stipend for general day-to-day living expenses. In exceptional cases, a travel allowance may also be provided for students who would otherwise be unable to afford travel to and from the university at which they have been accepted. All these benefits serve to remove the financial pressure from tertiary education, allowing bursary recipients to focus on excelling in their chosen field of study.
Three different types of bursaries are offered as part of the Funza Lushaka programme. These include bursaries covering four-year Bachelor of Education degrees, three- or four-year Bachelor’s degrees in other fields that allow for the progression towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and PGCE qualifications themselves (i.e. for those who have already graduated with degrees in relevant fields).
In the case of the second category mentioned above, various degrees that are covered by Funza Lushaka bursaries include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Technology, and Bachelor of Engineering. To qualify for a PGCE programme, as well as the bursary itself, at least one major subject must be a priority area subject taught as part of Foundation Phase, Intermediate Phase, Senior Phase, or FET Phase education. These include subjects such as various languages, science, mathematics, technology, economics, biology, accounting, geography, and others.
Applications for a Funza Lushaka bursary can be made online at the Funza Lushaka website. The necessary forms must be filled out in full and all supporting documents, including ID copies and academic records, must be submitted with the application. A printout of the application will be available as proof of application, and a copy thereof must also be submitted to the university where the student has been accepted, along with copies of the same required supporting documents.
Once all applications have been processed, candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application by the university at which they have been accepted, as well as by mail from the Department of Basic Education. Applications for the Funza Lushaka bursaries open on 1 October and close on 13 January each year, and early application is recommended. Any re-applications must also be submitted before 20 December.