Government wants to hire thousands of new teachers to focus on maths, science and technology

The Department of Basic Education plans to increase the number of newly qualified teachers in mathematics, science and technology from Grades 1 -12 at South African schools.

As outlined in National Treasury’s estimates of national expenditure for 2020, Basic Education plans to facilitate this increase by providing thousands of bursaries to prospective teachers.

The department is expected to hand out 12,500 Funza Lushaka bursaries per year with a total of 37,500 bursaries being awarded over the three‐year medium‐term expenditure framework (MTEF) period.

This is on condition that general increases in university costs do not exceed average annual increases in allocations to the bursary scheme of approximately 5%  over the same period, Treasury said.

“While prospective Funza Lushaka bursary recipients may qualify for fee‐free funding at universities, the department expects the demand for Funza Lushaka bursaries to remain unchanged as the guarantee of employment provided by the bursary’s work‐back provision remains a strong incentive.

“The bursary scheme is allocated R4.1 billion over the MTEF period in the Education Human Resources Development subprogramme in the Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development programme.”

Budget cuts 

Despite the plan to add thousands of new teachers, Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga has warned that the implementation of budget cuts will potentially have an effect on the number of posts available and may result in increased learner to educator ratios and consequently larger class sizes.

Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session, Motshekga said that the impact of cuts will vary across provinces depending on their historical budget pressure circumstances.

However, provincial education departments are expected to implement measures to lessen the impact, she said.

“These measures include improving efficiencies in the management of the movement of educators declared in addition to staff establishments and the speedy processing of ill-health and incapacity cases.

“Furthermore, the sector has noted that the average unit cost of an educator is declining and will continue as older and more expensive educators retire and are replaced by less costly younger entrants.”

Read: Major changes coming to South African schools – including new subjects and adjusted holidays

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Government wants to hire thousands of new teachers to focus on maths, science and technology