Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga is expected to address the nation about the way forward at 4pm. The department is said to have met with the National Command Council and heads of department. Over the weekend various reports including one by the Sunday Times and then another by TimesLive indicated that the minister may present various options for back to school.
As per Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s plans to roll out Level 3 with certain hotspots taken into consideration, not all children can go back to school at the same time depending on the area they live in. This would mean thousands of students living in so-called hotspots such as Buffalo City, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Mangaung and Nelson Mandela Bay may need to find an alternative solution for schooling as they may still be listed under Level 5 due to the number of active cases in this area.
A recent proposal by Mr Thembalihle Skonje (educator at Ngqayizivele Secondary School in Tembisa), which has both educators and teachers talking, suggests Grade 12 school camps. The camps would take learners away from homes, thus minimising the risk of infections from children to parents and grandparents. Similar to SSIP camps or “holiday camps” where children are given the opportunity to improve their grades Skonje proposed the following:
- Grade 12 have only 50% of work to be covered before they sit for Preliminary Examination
- Four to five weeks of extensive and rigorous teaching could be used efficiently to cover the 50% left on the syllabus
- Cutting off of extramural activities such as sports and probably excursion and any other activities would increase contact time to the benefit of the learners
- Teaching and learning has the potential to thrive in a conducive environment
- The camps would be extended beyond school hours to afternoon and evening classes
- During these camps, learners would be safe as they will be screened all the time
- This exercise will eliminate any possibility of infection that may have happened in a home environment whereby parents would have been coming from workplaces and their exposures to transport systems would have increased chances of infections
- The infection would be controlled between learners and educators as they would all be residing in the same controlled residence
According to this plan, matrics would have had enough time to catch up for the preliminary exams and then enough time for November/December exams.
Alternative days, morning school, afternoon school
Another option for the department of education could be to look into non-traditional school times and steer away from the normal 8-3 routine. Some students might attend in the morning while others in the later afternoon. Some grades may be “on” one week and “off” the next to make way for another grade.
A full plan will be presented tomorrow when Motshekga addresses the nation.