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Minister outlines potential options to salvage the school year

Measures taken to curb the spread of Covid-19 have already impacted the school year with more interruptions anticipated.

In a televised interview with ENCA news on Friday evening, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, confirmed government is considering a number of ways to salvage the 2020 academic year including scrapping school holidays or combining the 2020/21 school years.

“We’ve been looking at different scenarios at what is possible under the circumstances,” explained Motshekga. “We have gone to each sector head and asked what are the safe measures that we can put in place?”

The proposal, which is being put forward to cabinet next week, looks at a number of possible scenarios to re-coup the lost days, including:

  • Reducing and/or removing both the June and September holidays.
  • Removing mid-year examinations.
  • Curriculum adjustment for certain grades focusing only on building blocks.
  • Combining the 2020/2021 school year.

“We believe we have to do whatever it takes,” said Motshekga.

Asked what the ‘worst case scenario’ would be for the school year, she said: “The worst-case scenario, I suspect, would be [if] the phasing-in period lasts until June. We hope that it will start in mid-April so that we can have testing taking place among learners. Maybe we can phase in the Gr 12s and Gr 7s first, and then work out how to phase in other grades gradually up to June.”

She acknowledged the limitations of internet and television accessibility for many learners, stating these measures are to assist those with access, although it is not what they are counting on for the continuation of the school year.

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