Provinces at various stages of readiness for primary school learners return

Monday, June 21, 2021

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the provinces are at various stages of readiness for the return of all primary school learners to school on a daily basis.

This follows a Government Gazette issued on 28 May 2021, where the department announced that primary school learners would return to school on the first day of the third school term on 26 July 2021. 

Motshekga said the decision was canvassed adequately within the sector, with key stakeholders making inputs in the process. 

“We were guided by various studies, which looked into the teaching and learning losses already suffered in the sector; the scientific evidence regarding the impact of COVID-19 on younger children; as well as the advice from the medical fraternity. 

“Cabinet approved and supported the proposal by the sector, to prepare for the return of traditional time-tabling at primary school level with effect from the first day of the third school term on 28 July 2021. We gave ourselves two months to prepare for this mammoth task,” Motshekga said during a media briefing on Saturday.

The Minister said the department is aware that there are many variables that will make this task a success, and it is currently holding one-on-one sessions with each Provincial Education Department to check on their state of readiness.

Learner support programmes during COVID-19

Motshekga also reminded parents, guardians and children that the department, and its partners continue to use alternative means of providing curriculum material.

These include the Woza Matrics 2021 Catch-Up Programme, and the Tswelopele Campaigns, initiatives established by the department, in collaboration with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT).

“These are national supplementary remote learning campaigns, developed to support 2021 matric learners and learners in the General Education and Training Band (GET) from Grades R to 9, with supplementary support content, that will enable learners to catch-up on learning losses; and enable them to enhance, acquire and develop crucial knowledge, skills, attitudes and values during the academic year.

“The two campaigns provide digital and non-digital learning resources in partnership with a range of content providers through the DBE-TV on Open-View Channel 122, SABC 1 and DSTV Catch-Up, YouTube channels, as well as digital and mobile chat platforms. These platforms were put in place to minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 on learning, and to provide further learning opportunities in the context of the restrictions that are currently in place,” Motshekga said.

Second chance Matric examinations

The Minister also reported that the Matric Second Chance Matric Examinations are proceeding well. 

“The only concern are the protest actions in Harrismith, Free State, where the examinations are disrupted. The department is looking to other options to assist the candidates in this area,” Motshekga said.

Motshekga thanked the MECs, Heads of Departments of Provincial Education Departments, social partners and stakeholders, as well as colleagues in the education sector, for the work done thus far. 

“We are living under difficult circumstances that require commitment, dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness. We need to ensure that, in all that we do, we put health and safety as an apex priority. 

“What is required now is vigilance, alertness, and most of all strict adherence to the health and safety measures, that have been put in place,” the Minister said.

She conveyed her condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19 pandemic. –