New breed of teachers coming

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Education Minister Naledi Pandor wants to produce her own brand of teachers.

Pandor's department will:

l pay for their education at university or college;

l test them to make sure they are likely to be committed and good teachers;

l get them to commit themselves to the occupation for a number of years after they qualify as teachers; and

l deploy them anywhere at any time, depending on need.

Pandor disclosed her plans at a meeting of the council of education ministers in Pretoria on Monday.

Finding the best candidates for the teaching profession starts early next year when the Education Department begins interviewing aspirant teachers.

Lunga Ngqengelele, a spokesman for the department, said a full-course, service contract bursary scheme for student teachers would be effective from next year.

"Students from rural areas will be given preference because they are more likely to go back to their communities to teach.

"The bursary is also for people who want to study subjects that are in short supply, such as maths, science and indigenous languages," Ngqengelele said.

He said interviews would be held to test the affinity of the candidates for teaching.

"This is to make sure that they are good people for the field, and not people taking up the course as a last resort," Ngqengelele said.

He said tertiary institutions will be consulted about how the assessments should be conducted.

Pandor said other education highlights for next year included support for schools implementing safety and security policies.

She said the exclusion of "formerly privileged" schools from subsidisation might have to be reconsidered if they were providing education for poor children.

The department will for the first time host the conference of Commonwealth education ministers from December 11 to 14.

More than 50 delegates are expected to attend the conference.