The WHY behind the newly launched Teacher Internship Programme

From The Desk Of: Abraham and Sanrie on TIP

September 2020

According to a UNESCO report in 2019, South Africa’s teacher institutions currently graduate 15,000 new teachers per year. This is below the 25,000 mark required to maintain an effective teacher-pupil ratio. Further fuel to the fire is the fact that between 18,000 and 22,000 teachers leave the profession on a yearly basis.

The Teaching and Learning International Survey, published in July 2019, found that the average age of the South African teacher was 43 years old. This same survey also found that 32% of teachers were aged 50 and above. In the next decade, almost half of the current teaching workforce will have to be replaced (Maphalala & Mpofu, 2019). Which raises the question: who will be the future teachers of South Africa and how can they be inspired and empowered to continue on their teaching journey?

Asking a veteran teacher to reminisce about their first few years of teaching usually results in a confession about how little they knew and how terrified they were at the thought of managing a classroom. While one cannot fast track the experienced gained by many years of teaching; there is definitely a need for more classroom exposure prior to a students’ completing their teaching degree. It was the recognition of this need that sparked the idea of a Teacher Internship Programme at Acorn Education.

The vision of the programme is not only to provide more teaching exposure, but to develop well-equipped, fully professional, and mission-aligned future teachers that form part of the Acorn Education dream to provide quality education to all scholars, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

Even though similar internships programmes have been launched, Acorn Education strongly believes in our model due to the following differentiators;
  • teacher Interns are not class assistants to their mentor teachers,
  • time in class is spent on observations and active learning,
  • mentor teachers are trained to equip the interns with techniques and skills to effectively manage classrooms in order to ultimately increase the available time spent on quality teaching and learning, and
  • teacher Interns have practical time in class with the support and guidance from both the mentor teacher and the programme manager.

Acorn Education values the growth of our Teacher Interns and provides them with four hours of teacher development per week. Teacher development consists of training workshops focusing on research-based pedagogical strategies and instructional coaching that sharpens a teacher’s classroom management or instructional delivery skills. Furthermore, schedules for Teacher Interns are constructed to provide one day off per week that is to be allocated to studies. The academic success of our Teacher Interns is paramount to the success of our programme.

At the end of the internship programme, and once qualified and having met employment requirements, Teacher Interns will have the opportunity to be interviewed and possibly be employed as an educator in one of the no-fee public schools Acorn Education supports.

Currently, we are in the process of recruiting our second cohort of teacher interns for 2021. We are excited for the viable candidates to embark on a journey of growth and development in building a future of excellence for the youth of our country.



  Dr Abraham de Villiers,

  HEAD OF EDUCATION, Acorn Education. 




  Sanrie van der Westhuizen,



If you’d like to join our Teacher Internship Programme, please apply here.

Recommended Posts