At JumpStart we think every day should be World Teachers’ Day! Our chief goal is to support under-resourced educators in classrooms where teacher-pupil ratios are very high. We train unemployed youth living close to the schools on our programme, developing their skills as maths tutors. They then assist in early grade maths learning by offering one-on-one attention to struggling children. Many young people discover a deep sense of purpose in the classroom and are eager to get onto career paths towards becoming teachers in their own right.
World Teachers’ Day is a day to celebrate how teachers are transforming education. This is a chance to reflect on the support teachers — and future teachers — need to fully deploy their talent and vocation. We celebrate having secured R40 000 of financial aid that will help six tutors become educators.
Youth reaching out to youth
An exciting CSI initiative was started in April this year by a team of newly qualified young people. These participants in a Graduate CSI programme for a major FMCG corporation chose to help anonymously. They reached out to youth who had not had the same benefits they had enjoyed. In particular, they wanted to help those who had not yet graduated. Their spokeswoman, Kulungile L, said, “We took a creative approach to building skills and community with other young people by providing mentorship to peers starting their careers. Nobody has an easy road getting to a job!”
Good news for future teachers on World Teachers’ Day
Kulungile L researched NPOs that were geographically close to our organisation and discovered JumpStart’s numeracy programme. “It felt like a good fit!” she said. When we discovered the Bridge Bursary via forgood, we were clear about how to make a meaningful contribution.”
Six JumpStart tutors received the good news this week. Simphiwe Mtshali (Sekgutlong Primary), Mpelane Motloung (Mohlodi Primary), Butsha Ngane (Tamaho Primary), Mduduzi Mahlambi (Buyani Primary), Asanda Biyana, (Biyana Primary), and Zenanda Mkrozwana (Mpentse Primary) each shared their relief at receiving assistance.
Sweet news for Simphiwe Mtshali
First prize winner, Simphiwe Mtshali, discovered a talent for and love of teaching mathematics as an education assistant. She helped pilot a programme for homebound children in Katlehong during the COVID lockdown. When she was finally in a position to register for her B. Ed, NSFAS funding was no longer available to first year students. This was a bitter pill!
“Over the years I’ve watched others finish their qualification and now I’m finally moving in that direction. My prayer has been answered,” said a joyful Simphiwe.
Butsha breaks out of debt
Tutors who received the welcome news shared their excitement and relief. Butsha Ngani completed her B.Com degree at Rhodes University, believing that she had qualified for full funding from NSFAS. After her final exams, she couldn’t get work without a copy of her parchment due to an administrative mixup between the university and the loan agency. With the help of Feenix and Back-a-buddy, she clawed her way out of a staggering R200 000 debt.
Butsha remains determined to become a teacher and aims to commence the PGCE. This diploma will enable her to teach high school learners. “I’m very happy to be headed back to the books after all the stress,” she said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to finish the road I started and to become a qualified teacher soon.”
Science and maths teacher in the making
“The financial assistance will help a lot and enable me to keep studying,” said Mduduzi Mahlambi, who is keen to teach physical sciences and mathematics in Senior Phase and FET. He is more than half way through his degree and eager to complete his qualifications.
Kulungile concluded: “As new graduates, we proposed a year-long CSI initiative to our management team. We undertook to work with a nonprofit organisation for a year, dispersing funds towards study assistance. Since NSFAS withdrew assistance to first year B.Ed students, prospective teachers need financial help. Additionally, there are many who struggle with student debt who cannot access their parchment. We chose to share the funds we had between six future teachers who are currently working as education assistants in the JumpStart Foundation’s early grade maths intervention.”
More teachers needed in South Africa
Mpelane Motloung first studied toward an ECD Diploma. “I applied to UNISA for a B.ED but needed to do a bridging course before starting a degree due to my low APS score. I’ve been unfunded so was very excited and to hear about the financial help. It changes a lot and lets me complete my studies. I love working with children, who need adults to help them understand what they’re learning,” she said.
JumpStart’s relationship manager, Lesego Maforah, reflected on World Teachers Day: “JumpStart Foundation’s objective is to introduce more skilled teachers into the national system. We need a long-term solution to the shortage of teachers. Corporate partners that enable us to better meet this goal are especially important.” He said, “Educating future teachers needs to be a priority all year round, not just on World Teachers’ Day,” he said.
Could your organisation become a programme partner with the JumpStart Foundation? Could you participate in supporting more student teachers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to become part of a long-term solution that will take South Africa forward with hope.