Teaching is often described as ‘a calling’ because the teachers that have the biggest impact are the ones with a genuine passion and a special aptitude for helping children learn and develop. 

But that drive to teach can get snuffed out in matriculants from disadvantaged communities if they can’t access the resources for a tertiary education.  This is not only a tragedy on an individual level.  A single teacher impacts a generation of learners, yet recent studies show our country has less than half the teachers we need. We all need to consider the benefits of supporting those with a dream to teach.

MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, one of South Africa’s largest fundraising programmes, is launching a new fund Dream2Teach, aimed at investing in teacher education. The fund is aligned to MySchool’s belief that education is the gift of a lifetime, where every additional qualified teacher has an impact on hundreds of future learners to come.  

Through Dream2Teach, MySchool will help aspiring learners achieve their dreams of becoming a teacher with a personalised support and scholarships from start to end. The Dream2Teach Scholarship Fund will award scholarships to selected matriculants who have a clear purpose to become teachers but lack the financial means to gain a tertiary qualification.  It is also a unique way for South Africans who care about the upliftment of education to become active contributors to a well-managed teacher bursary initiative, at no cost to themselves, simply by swiping their card when they shop. 

“For South Africans education is gold,” says Helene Brand, Marketing and CSI Manager for MySchool. “It is a key to the door of a bright future, and by creating more quality teachers we will not only be impacting on the individual scholarship recipient, but on many generations of learners. If quality education matters to you, get a card and swipe for the Dream2Teach Scholarship Fund to support SA’s future teachers.” 

Few people are aware of the serious shortage of teachers and how this will escalate in future. About 15 000 new teachers qualify every year in South Africa, but we need 22 000 in order to compensate for retiring teachers and a growing number of school-going children.  A staggering 74% of our current teacher workforce is over 40 years of age, and only 8% of them are between 20 to 29 years.  This means we don’t have anywhere near the number of new teachers that we need to replace the teachers who will be retiring in the next 10 to 20 years*. 

Initiatives such as MySchool’s Dream2Teach Scholarship Fund will not just create more teachers for South Africa, but to also foster teachers as leaders in their communities.  “MySchool has long recognised the important role that passionate teachers play in society. Their positive influence and impact goes far beyond the classroom into their communities,” says Brand. “Therefore a Dream2Teach scholarship will not just provide the financial aid for a student teacher but will take a whole-person approach and focus also on their personal and leadership development.  We want to give our beneficiaries not just the opportunity to become ‘a teacher’ but the chance to be a great teacher who changes lives for the better.” 

The Dream2Teach Fund is managed by the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme and collaborates with world class scholarship management organisations such as the MAD (Make A Difference) Leadership Foundation which will facilitate the first two scholarships.  MAD Founding Chairman, Francois Pienaar says: “We’re proud to partner with initiatives such as MySchool MyVillage My Planet, who share our commitment and long-term vision to identify and support deserving future leaders with academic and leadership potential. Sustainable partnerships, such as the Dream2Teach Scholarship, allow us to leverage our reach and impact and ensure we can reach more scholars and invest back into educational opportunities in South Africa. Together we can harness the potential of the youth, as we believe in their future and their ability to achieve great things for this country through this scholarship opportunity.” The number of learners that will benefit from the scholarship will be dependant on the support from South Africans. The more people swipe their cards for the Fund, the more funds will be raised and the greater the impact. 

If you haven’t yet got a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card yet, this is an ideal opportunity to sign up to the programme and start making an real, measurable difference just by swiping your card at participating retailers. The retailer will make a donation on your behalf and it won’t cost you a cent. If you already have a card, you can add Dream2Teach as an additional beneficiary. 

Sign up for your free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card online at www.myschool.co.za and select the Dream2Teach Fund as your beneficiary.  Swipe your card every time you shop at a range of participating retailers including Woolworths, Bidvest Waltons, Engen Foodstops and one of South Africa’s biggest online stores www.loot.co.za .

*According to a 2014 Stellenbosch University study by Hendrik van Broekhuiszen