Publication: Cape Times
Publication Date: 13 Jul 2021
THE Department of Basic Education (DBE) is expected to revise the school calendar following a delay in the reopening of places of learning this month.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that all schools will remain shut until July 26 after he closed them early on June 30.
In the previous gazetted guidelines by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, schools were scheduled to reopen next week. DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department will revise the school calendar and recover the five days lost due to the extension.
`The Council of Education Ministers will take a decision based on science on whether to open for all learners or continue with alternating timetabling.
` Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said schools have been advised about the announcement but still await Motshekga`s directions.
`I am very concerned that we are losing even more teaching and learning days this year, especially in light of the shocking results from the latest NIDS-CRAM report.
`We have also agreed to a risk-adjusted strategy for basic education, which I have yet to see implemented as far as schools are concerned.
`I would like to hear the Cabinet`s scientific reasons for extending the school closures across the board, ` said Schafer.
The NIDS-CRAM study found that 750 000 learners had stopped attending school between April last year and May this year.
`Those who did not drop out missed out on learning due to lost school days. A National Institute For Communicable Diseases surveillance report on under-19s suggested that schools being opened or closed were not major drivers of Covid-19 waves.
Professor Kobus Maree from the department of educational psychology at the University of Pretoria said further delays would put pressure on learners who were placed at schools late as they were still catching up with previous work under rotational timetables.
`No doubt these learners` stress or anxiety levels will rise. Moreover, rotating classes and not being able to attend subjects such as mathematics and physical sciences, especially on a daily basis, will influence learners that are at a disadvantage in these subjects already seriously negatively, with potential longer-term effects.
` National Professional Teachers` Organisation Of South Africa executive director Basil Manuel said the department cannot fiddle with the calendar every time the president speaks.
`We are satisfied with the current calendar because it`s based on the health and safety of learners and teachers.
`We are happy with the original date of July 26. `We want all primary school learners to return. As unions, we will meet with the department this week to get clarity on readiness of schools because we have not received an update on delivery of supplies to ensure safety.
` Progressive Principals` Association spokesper- son Anthea Adriaanse said while the association welcomed the announcement, the issue of academic support for learners has become solely schools` responsibility, placing educators under severe pressure.
A TAXI is towed away after a train crashed into it near False Bay Station in Muizenberg.
I HENK KRUGER African News Agency (ANA)