The Department of Education has admitted they’re pushing to have schools bring kids back full time.
According to News 24, departmental spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the impact of the pandemic has been far worse than expected; a government workshop that took place this week over two days confirmed that schools may only recover by the year 2030. Setting the education system and its learners up for 10 years of turmoil.
The forecast has urged the department and various stakeholders to assess solutions to the problem including kids returning to school on a full-time basis.
As it stands however, decisions are yet to be made. The department plans to hold consultations with unions and health experts.
JUST IN: @DBE_SA's @ElijahMhlanga speaks to @eNCA about school learners possibly going back to school full time. "We depend on the health experts to tell us what is possible and what is not."#BacktoSchool pic.twitter.com/bkXf3jx7g7
— Tshepiso Mokhema (@_Tshepz_) April 19, 2021
Basil Manuel, of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, says they are open to the idea as they have seen the extent to which the youngest grades are being affected. Especially in the areas of reading and writing.
Manuel also emphasized that pivotal to the cause is the need for impeccable health and safety measure where everyone is aware of the hygiene risks. The health and safety of its members and the children is non-negotiable.
When assessing the broader picture, South African schools in some areas suffer the reality of having around 60 kids in a class, a full-time approach at this point could be problematic in these schools while a two-tier approach to 100% is also not on the cards according to Manuel.
Many primary schools operate on a rotational basis at the moment with some students coming in twice a week while others three times and then they alternate, which equates to just five days of school over two weeks.
For the schools that can, learners work online via an e-learning platform but this method has various complications, and simply put; it is just not working.
The need for kids to return to school has never been more with the risk of a decade long education crisis imminent.
By Naadiya Adams