The 2015 Centre for Development and Enterprise [CDE] report noted one of the greatest challenges facing the South African education system as the production of enough competent teachers who can provide quality teaching for all school subject phases.

Attracting young educators into the system has become a necessity in realisation of the aging teacher profile. The Funza Lushaka bursary programme seeks, in line with goal 14 of the action plan to 2030, to identify and recruit youth from all provinces to increase the supply of young teachers in the education system. For this reason, the strategic objective of the department through the Funza Lushaka bursary programme is to attract a new group of young, motivated, and appropriately trained teachers to the teaching profession every year. Therefore, the Funza Lushaka bursary programme will target students who are below 30 years of age to be considered for funding.

The merit-based criteria for awarding the bursary have contributed to a higher calibre of students entering initial teacher education programmes.

Courses covered

Two types of qualifications are be funded through the bursary:
1. A 4-year Bachelor of Education degree (B Ed), Specialising in Foundation Phase (FP) (Grade R – 3), Intermediate Phase (IP) (Grade 4 – 6), Senior Phase (SP) (Grade 7 – 9) and Further Education and Training (FET) Phase (Grade 10-12).
2. One-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in SP/FET Phase teaching for graduates.


Selection criteria include the following:
• The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme will target students who are below 30 years of age to be considered for funding.
• Allocation of Funza Lushaka bursaries to Higher Education Institution employees, their spouse and their dependents/children is not permissible.
• The Funza Lushaka bursary is a prestigious bursary aimed at attracting high quality students to become teachers. Thus, it does not fund an extended programme.
• Students will need to meet the legal and institutional entrance requirements and be accepted into a study programme before they can apply for the bursary.
• Bursaries can only be provided for students who are registered for initial teacher education programmes offered at a Public Higher Education Institution, which are on the institution’s programme-qualification mix (PQM), are accredited by the CHE, and are recognized for employment in education by the Department of Basic Education.
• The bursary is only awarded to South African citizens with a valid South African ID number.
• The applicant should demonstrate good academic ability.
• Students must meet the minimum academic criteria for award of the bursary.
• It is expected that a student specializing in SP/FET should take either at least two FET subjects or one FET and one SP.
• Students studying towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Education – (PGCE), Further Education and Training(/FET) may either take two FET subjects; one FET subject and one Specialization (SP) subject.
• The applicant must show commitment to a teaching career, which includes interest in working with young people; enthusiasm for a professional career in teaching; readiness to face and surmount difficult challenges and personal integrity.
• The applicant must be committed to teach in any school to which a student may be placed by a Provincial Education Department (PED).


Recipients of these bursaries will be required to teach at a public school for the same number of years that they used the bursary. No repayment will have to be made unless the bursary holders’ defaults on the conditions of the bursary contract. In such cases, the amount that is repayable is the full amount of the bursary received under the programme, less than a year’s funding for every year spent teaching at a public school. Interest will be charged at the rate determined by NSFAS.

What does the bursary cover?

1. Funza Lushaka bursaries cover most of the recipient’s essential expenses inclusive of tuition, accommodation including meals, books and learning materials, and if possible, a small allowance for monthly living expenses. The allocation to any individual student is capped at a specific value. Where the university charges more than the capped value the bursars will have to top up from own funds. Universities have different cost structures, so the total value of a bursary differs from institution to institution.

2. The bursary is awarded for one academic year at a time. It is not automatically re-awarded. Re-award will depend on academic success. There is no automatic promise of support for 4 years plus 1 more year. On evidence of academic success, and pending the availability of funds, the bursary may be renewed each year until the recipient of the bursary has qualified as a teacher.

NSFAS partnership since inception

NSFAS has been appointed to financially administer the Funza Lushaka bursary funding and has been administering the funds on behalf of the department since 2007. NSFAS’ roles and responsibilities are set out in an approved Memorandum of agreement (MOA)that was signed on December 14, 2018. 147164 Funza Lushaka bursaries have been awarded between 2007 and 2019 at a cost of R 9,6 billion.

For more information on the Funza Lushaka bursary programme please visit: or



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