New teacher-led nationwide network launched in South Africa

At the frontlines of learning, young teachers have the fervency and creativity to reshape the education sector for the better. This is the key belief of the Teachers’ Change Agent Network (Teachers CAN), which has launched this week.

“Teachers enter the profession with energy and fresh ideas driven by a passion to make a difference, but many feel overwhelmed and unsupported in their roles as their careers progress. Teachers CAN aims to connect the inherent power, ideas and creativity that lies within every teacher, so that they and their supporters can unite and work towards realising the potential of all children in South Africa,” said Andisiwe Hlungwane, Teachers CAN project lead.

Led by young teachers who are navigating the education system in innovative ways, the Teachers CAN network will advocate for teachers to be supported as professionals and recognised as social change agents within the South African education system.

With that in mind, the Teachers CAN Manifesto states that all teachers must be able to:

  • Engage as equals where their views are valued,
  • Free children to be who they really are,
  • Connect to a wider world of social change,
  • Shape curriculum and professional development, and
  • Play an active role in school structures.

To jumpstart the network – and to explore how young teachers can live out the Manifesto – Teachers CAN launched its Teachers CAN fellowship this week.

“Teachers CAN recognises the steep learning curve and intensity of the first years of teaching, and the pressure to conform to conventional teaching norms can quickly become internalised,” said Andisiwe Hlungwane.

“To counter this, Teachers CAN seeks to foster new ways for teachers to see themselves as well as their role in the education system, developing their individual as well as collective identities as change agents. To help build teacher identities, Teachers CAN has developed a year-long fellowship programme.”

In its first year, the Teachers CAN fellowship will focus on 30 young teachers, based anywhere in South Africa, who are between the ages of 23 and 35, and have one to five years of teaching experience.

The fellowship will consist of workshops taking place during the March, June and October public school holidays in 2021 .

Applications are open and will close on Friday, 15 January 2021.

Teachers CAN aims to amplify young teachers’ and supporters’ voices at a public and policy level to transform the delivery education in South Africa.

Further information

Teachers CAN was established in 2019 and is supported by the DG Murray Trust.

Applications for the Teachers CAN fellowship opened on Tuesday, 1 December 2020, and will close on Friday, 15 January 2021.

The candidates must:

  • Be between the ages of 23 and 35.
  • Have a maximum of 5 years of teaching experience.
  • Have a demonstrated desire to bring positive change in the South African schooling system.
  • Have availability to commit to five days to the fellowship immersions during each school holiday in 2021.

Visit the Teachers CAN webpage for more information and to apply.

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

Mienke Steytler, Communication Specialist, Teachers CAN

+27 (0)63 295 1043

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