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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Schools have high hopes to finish curriculum by December

Education expert says focus should be put on basics that need to be covered.

It will be a race against time when schools reopen on 24 August, with many former model C schools preparing to hit the ground running and hoping to finish the curriculum by December.

But an expert said backlogs were inevitable.

This would be a burden not only on teachers, but on pupils as they would struggle to progress in future.

Sadi Seyama, senior lecturer at the department of education, leadership and management at University of Johannesburg, said there was a need for education to be focused, especially with the crisis caused by Covid-19.

“There should be a serious relook at the curriculum to remove that which does not work and have a specific focus on the basics that needed to be covered,” Seyama said.

Some teachers expressed frustration at the continuous trimming of curriculum content, which had interfered with their work.

The contents of the curriculum have been altered three times, causing teachers to cancel certain assessments and incorporate some into teaching time.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of South Africa voiced concern about the effect of the four-week school closure on Grade 1 children in particular.

Fedsas deputy chief executive Dr Jaco Deacon said these children, who had to learn to read, write and do arithmetic, had only nine weeks left.

“This should concern us. We should also be concerned that there are still schools that haven’t opened at all since 18 March, as well as schools with insufficient personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, or even running water,” Deacon said.

He added it was worrying that unions had convinced the government to turn its back on more than 12 million schoolchildren.

The closure of schools further disrupted the process and it happened at a time when schools had been receiving an updated, trimmed curriculum.

Before schools closed on 27 July, teachers were inundated with queries from concerned parents who were worried about whether schools would open on the initial date, that was set for 3 August.

Now, some teachers are uncertain and said they did not know what to expect when schools reopen on 24 August.

Anything could change at any time, depending on what the department decided in terms of schooling in these “new normal” times.

But despite all of this, there was a high level of optimism at suburban schools that they would be able to cover lost ground during the remaining period if nothing further disrupted their schedules.

“As soon as those children come back we would have to hit the ground running.

“We have to get the show back on track,” one teacher said yesterday.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

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