Education Minister Angie Motshekga described the 2020 school year as “catastrophic” and said the school system was under tremendous pressure.
Motshekga visited Eletsa Secondary School and Tshepagalang Secondary School in Lethlabile, near Brits in the North West, on Tuesday to see how things are going with the return of matrics.
One of Motshekga’s biggest concerns is that pupils drop out ( ” dropouts “) because “once a child’s vulnerable environments fail, it’s hard to get them back
“There are poor children who have not had access to reading material or information and communication technology since March and still do not go to school – for me it is a disaster,” she says.
“Even if the curriculum has been cut, we still cannot get back what we lost this year. We do not think schools will recover from 2020.
“The gr. 12s must leave school so that the system can breathe and make room for the pupils who will be attending Gr. 1″
Although the return of matrics has so far been smooth, Motshekga expects problems from 24 August when pupils return in more grades and start with a differentiated timetable.
Regarding the differentiated timetable, Motshekga explains that some schools have a daily or weekly rotation base for each grade to take turns attending school.
“Not all schools have the space for pupils to maintain a healthy distance, therefore not everyone can be at school at the same time every day. This is where I think we will start to experience the tension of the coronavirus. ”
Some schools also divide the classes so that there are fewer pupils in the classroom, but then there still has to be a teacher for the additional class.
Due to the differentiated timetable, there is “absolutely not” enough time for pupils to complete the 2020 academic year by 15 December. That is why the education department has adapted the curriculum, says Motshekga.
Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the department of basic education, said earlier that this curriculum provides for a shorter school year.
All the core elements in the curricula for the different grades are still covered. Important aspects of the curriculum that are repeated in a subsequent year have been moved to next year, while non-essential parts have been left out of the curriculum.
“Parts of the 2020 curriculum that were not covered this year will be carried over to 2021. About 70% of the work in the curriculum will be completed this year, “Motshekga said on Tuesday.
“We also do not think we will complete the work of 2020 in 2021. It will be a three-year program to see if we can get back what we lost. ”