How Motshekga aims to recover lost school days

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Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jacques Naude / African News Agency (ANA)

Minster of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has announced that to compensate for the lost school days due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the June school holidays would be cut short by a week and the September vacation will be shortened by two days.

The minister said schools would also be encouraged to extend school hours to make up for lost time.

Motshekga said following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an assessment was done on the current state of affairs regarding Covid-19 and it was decided that drastic steps were needed.

“As a sector we have determined that schools should resume on 14 April; unless determined differently. If that happens we’ll communicate with parents. We are going to lose 10 school days as a result of the school closures,” said Motshekga.

She said that schools in particular had been identified as one of the biggest threats in terms of the transmission.

“We considered that closing schools should take place but we also needed to give parents time to prepare for it,” she said. “As things stand right now and based on expert advice we should be able to manage coronavirus such that the negative impact on schooling is minimised.”

She also said that the school enrichment programmes would also be affected by the arrangements, but the department would provide guidelines this week on how the school enrichment programmes are going to be managed to ensure that those in matric were not disadvantaged.

“It must be noted that this directive affects public, independent and private schools. The technical aspects of these measures will be addressed by the concerned parties,” she added.

According to the department, provincial education departments, districts and schools were advised to take advantage of the 21-day lockdown to utilise the time effectively by ensuring that pupils participate in established stimulating initiatives such as the read to lead programme, maths buddies and holiday assignments through the supervision and guidance of parents.

“The department of basic education will provide guidelines on vacation schools and camps to ensure alignment with the presidential proclamation on the state of disaster in South Africa,” said the department in a statement.

“During this period, the situation will be monitored daily and regular communication updates will be pronounced by using one channel of communication coordinated by the department of basic education.”

The Citizen/Gcina Ntsaluba