News | South Africa | Education
It couldn’t have been an easy decision but there solution to reopen schools only on 15 February is the right one.
After weeks of uncertainty, Deputy Basic Education Minister Reginah Mhaule on Friday postponed the school calendar by two weeks as the country attempts to contain the latest surge of Covid-19 infections.
School management teams will report for duty on 25 January and teachers will follow on 1 February.
The academic year was supposed to start on 27 January, with some private schools already opened.
Since President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the regulations for the adjusted Level 3 lockdown and vaguely commented that “the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) is dealing with this issue [education] and we will provide guidance in the coming days”, it created angst among pupils, teachers and parents.
Academically, last year was certainly no walk in the park. Home schooling, rotational shifts and online learning became the norm in a disrupted year.
Dr Sara Black, an education researcher, teacher, policy analyst and postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg, said: “Most people I am in touch with who work in average schools reported that not much teaching and learning is happening, between all the chop and change, closures, sickness, screening, etc.
“I think we missed a golden opportunity between March and December last year to really address deep-seated shortcomings in the system, which would’ve put us on a better footing to start 2021 safely and with a focus on learning.”
Face-to-face teaching is always going to be more effective than online learning.
But if the president believes the situation is serious enough to enforce certain restrictions and encourage the country to work from home as much as possible, what sense is it to send our children back to school.
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