The Department of Basic Education is building up its advertising and marketing campaign to draw in young adults to take up teaching via the Funza Lushaka Bursary initiative.
Starting from next month, the department announced that it is going to “recruit the very best of young people to the teaching profession.” It has at the same time declared that there would be a “more scripted strategy to teacher development.”
This approach, it explained, would come with training and support to teachers to “make it possible for them to manage and utilize efficient techniques to teach specific content areas,” which the Annual National Assessment had demonstrated that they are difficult for learners.
As part of endeavours to bolster accountability within the education system, the department stated it was in fact working closely with the Education Labour Relations Council to formulate performance management contracts with principals and deputy principals.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy Enver Surty were responding to journalists on Tuesday during a Human Development Cluster briefing in Cape Town.
Talking on behalf of the minister, Surty revealed that “all principals and deputy principals are going to enter into performance contracts in the foreseeable future along with clear performance targets.”
He pointed out that far better performance at basic education level was in fact critical for reaching the goals and objectives of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
“Education and training happen to be central in improving the required skills that will actually ensure a simple yet effective response to the needs of the labour market… as well as guaranteeing inclusive beneficiation in the economy.”
He explained that government had observed that the South African labour market was “seriously affected by skills shortages.
As part of initiatives to boost the new Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), the department had initiated interventions which sought to improve access to training and skills development opportunities.
“The unveiling of the new Seta landscape has resulted in the restructuring of Setas… to further improve governance, administration along with a focus on achieving sectoral skills needs and boost training levels overall.
“A standard constitution for all Setas has been unveiled to make sure there is uniformity and alignment with respect to the operation of Setas”
On a related matter, Surty declared that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is definately not charging interest on student loans “until 1 year after the student has graduated or left university.”
This, he explained, would apply to “all NSFAS loans to students registered on 1 April 2011 and [beyond].”
“An additional R50 million has been made available for postgraduate students who require financial help in order to complete their Honours, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees.
“These students will enter into loan agreements with NSFAS and the funds they repay are going to be earmarked to fund future postgraduate students.”
He said that the Department of Higher Education had at the same time requested NSFAS to remove from the credit bureau “all students they already have blacklisted,” specifically recipients of NSFAS loans.
At the same time, there are also plans by the Department of Basic Education and President Jacob Zuma to go back to the Eastern Cape to deal with the education turmoil there.