Citizen Reporter
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3 minute read
12 Jan 2022
11:13 am

EFF calls on Motshekga to ensure pupils who dropped out due to Covid are readmitted

Citizen Reporter

The EFF said it was concerned that the department did not outline its plans to readmit pupils who left the education system.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga during a media briefing on the opening of schools for the 2022 school year, in Pretoria on 11 January 2022. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called on the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Minister Angie Motshekga to ensure the estimated 150,000 to 700,000 pupils who dropped out of school due to Covid-19 disruptions are readmitted back into the education system.

Basic Education Minister Motshekga on Tuesday held a briefing in Pretoria on the opening of schools for the 2022 academic year.

During the briefing, the DBE’s director-general Mathanzima Mweli emphasised that the staggering number of pupils who had dropped out due to the pandemic was just a projection.

Mweli said the department got the information from the education management information system, which is the system that the DBE uses to collate data from public schools on attendance and dropouts.

ALSO READ: 400,000 children yet to be placed for 2022 as schools reopen

The EFF said it was concerned that the department did not outline its plans to ensure that the pupils who left the education system are re-admitted.

Even more concerning, the party said, was that the department did not have concrete plans in place for a less disruptive 2022 academic year under the current Covid-19 conditions.

The EFF claimed the massive dropouts were due to “the directionless leadership within the department”, and exacerbated by rotational timetabling and lack of adequate support to educators and pupils.

Rotational timetabling

The party called on the department to immediately end the rotational timetabling that was implemented at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

“There must be a continued focus on keeping learners and educators in safe classrooms, by observing all Covid-19 protocols and providing sufficient PPE.

“Rotational timetabling and remote learning has exacerbated existing educational inequalities and has been detrimental to the educational attainment of poor and working class learners,” the EFF said in a statement.

School admissions

With the department having a backlog of 400,000 children that need to be placed for the 2022 school year, particularly in Gauteng and the Western Cape, the EFF called on officials to ensure the pupils are placed in schools without delay.

“The admission crisis of approximately 400,000 learners who have not been placed in any school will further exacerbate educational inequalities, increasing poverty and illiteracy.

“The EFF calls for the end of rotational timetabling with immediate effect and for the education department to prioritise vaccination education among educators and learners to enable full-time learning in all schools.”

The DBE’s deputy director-general for planning, Simone Geyer, said on Tuesday many of the 400,000 pupils remained unplaced due to late applications – which delayed the registration process – as well as the difficulty of planning how many pupils needed placement and parents’ preference of English-medium schools.

Motshekga said she was aware that there were pupils yet to be placed in schools because admissions took a year to process. However, for a number of reasons, admissions had spilled over into this year.

“At the moment, Gauteng is experiencing challenges in this regard and we appeal to parents and guardians to co-operate with the district officials to resolve any matter,” the minister said.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by Reitumetse Makwea.

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