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Monday, November 29, 2021

The US Wants South Africans To Teach isiZulu At Its Universities

THE United States has issued a call for South Africans to teach isiZulu at its universities as part of the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Programme (FLTA).

South Africans who speak isiZulu as their home language, but are also proficient in English, can apply to teach at an American university for a full academic year between August 2022 and May 2023. This is part of the Fulbright South Africa FLTA Programme which opened applications on 5 November.

The Fulbright Programme is an international educational and cultural exchange course led by the US government in partnership with 160 countries.

Students, scholars, and teachers are able to pursue post-graduate studies and conduct independent postdoctoral research for up to nine months in the US through the programme.

This year marks the programme’s 75th anniversary which also comes amid disruptions caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.

The latest Fulbright FLTA programme focuses on isiZulu teachers who have until 15 December to apply.

Successful FLTA applicants will receive a monthly stipend, ranging between $400 to $600, health insurance, covered flight costs, and visa support.

The programme does not allow dependents to accompany FLTA participants, nor does it provide funding for dependents.

Fulbright FLTA participants will teach up to 20 hours of language classes a week and are required to enrol in at least two courses per semester, one of which must be in US Studies.

They’ll also be required to facilitate cultural events, language clubs, language tables, and interact with their host communities in conversation groups, extracurricular activities, and community outreach projects.

More than 400 FLTA participants, sponsored as J-1 non-degree students, are chosen to live, study, and teach at American colleges and universities in the US each year.

South Africans hoping to take part in 2022/23 isiZulu FLTA programme need to meet certain criteria when applying.

South Africans applying to teach in the US

Firstly, applicants need to be citizens of South Arica and fluent in isiZulu, while having proficiency in both written and spoken English language.

Importantly, applicants must be qualified secondary-level teachers with no more than seven years teaching experience in English, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), isiZulu, American Studies, journalism and media, literature, or a related field.

Applications need to be made online, via the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) registration portal.

Before applying, it’s recommended that potential candidates contact the Fulbright Programme Office in South Africa to be sure of the requirements and their eligibility.

Queries can be emailed to EducationUSAdbn@state.gov and KnowlesSD@state.gov, or lodged with the US Embassy in Pretoria.

Applicants will need to create an account with a username and password. Registration also requires personal details, like the applicant’s first and last name, email address, and birth date.

Once the account has been created, an email from apply@iie.org, confirming that the application process has started, will be sent to the applicant’s address.

Preliminary questions on the application form include information on the programme country from which the applicant is applying – in this case, South Africa – and the academic year being applied for.

Personal information, like the applicant’s name, number of dependants, national identification number, any physical limitations, country of citizenship, and contact information is also required.

Work experience and motivations

Applicants also need to upload a copy of their CV – in a PDF format that does not exceed four pages – and more detailed information on their academic background.

The latter relates to all post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant has received a degree or academic credential.

Professional experience also needs to be listed. This includes information about the applicant’s previous or current positions and jobs and the employer’s details.

Awards and recognitions, like scholarships, academic honours and prizes, self-published books, articles, or thesis, or belonging to any professional societies or fraternities, can also be noted in the application form.

Any experience abroad – including time overseas for education, research, business, or vacation – can be included. Applicants will also need to rate their language proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking.

If the applicant has already completed a standardised test – TOEFL, GRE, GMAT or IELTS – they’ll be prompted to record their score.

If not, the applicant will be prompted to complete these tests in the future before being admitted to a US institution.

Applicants will also need to submit an essay – minimum 700 words in length – on their objectives and motivations for applying for the FLTA programme.

An essay on teaching methodologies and techniques, 300 to 500 words in length, is also required, as is a response to hypothetical scenarios as a cultural ambassador.

The application finishes with the option to list recommenders or references who can vouch for the applicant’s competence.

The application process can be long, but, importantly, applicants do not need to complete the application at one time.

They can re-enter at any time to edit the application but, once submitted, no changes can be made.

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