The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has entered into an innovative partnership which will enhance the recruitment of teachers into the independent school sector; this being with the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) and Investec.
This Public Private Partnership aims to train 200 teacher interns in the priority subjects of Maths and Science at high quality independent schools between 2013 and 2020.
The DBE funding will cover the full study and subsistence costs of the teachers for the duration of their training through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme, while ISASA schools will be used to host, train and mentor the interns. ISASA will also be responsible for recruiting, selecting, placing the prospective teachers and supporting them through the duration of their internship.
Investec, who have a track record of supporting mathematics and science education at school level, have extended their focus to the critical need to develop quality teachers in these key subjects. The role of Investec in the partnership will be to provide funding for enrichment activities, such as the orientation of the new recruits, academic support, AMESA attendance as well as the mentoring meetings.
Mr Temba Kojana, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG) of Teacher Education Human Resources and Institutional Development hailed the collaboration as a valuable contribution to Minister Angie Motshekga's drive to attract the best young people to the teaching profession.
"South Africa needs sufficient, suitably trained teachers to meet our education demands, particularly in priority subjects such as Maths and English and in rural areas," said DDG Kojana. "We need a strong recruitment and advocacy campaign to respond to these needs but we cannot do it alone. We are pleased to be working with very solid partners to address this need" he continued.
The programme builds into the DBE's Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme, which has trained thousands of young people in priority education areas since 2007. In 2012 alone, 11 455 bursaries were awarded and the target for 2013 is to train approximately 14 400 young people.
The 30 candidates taking part in the project were handpicked following a rigorous selection process, with the aim of producing a cohort of master teachers. Most of the candidates come from disadvantaged backgrounds but display the necessary potential.
The project is unique in that from day one, candidates will be exposed to the classroom by being placed at ISASA schools. This gives them the practical experience as they go though correspondence learning with Unisa.
"These selected students are the best of the best. They will be exposed to continuous classroom experience at specially selected schools. These interns will be exposed to excellent teaching from the start", said Said Mr John Lobban, Director of Membership and Operations at ISASA.
"Another unique aspect of this programme is the structured mentorship which every intern will be exposed to," Mr Lobban concluded.