South Africa: Education Department Needs to Think Carefully About Plans to Revive the School Year


While the education department ponders a plan to restore the school year when the lockdown is lifted, some educators say an attempt to overburden the system with over-ambitious measures will merely place learners and teachers in a precarious position.

In an interview with television news broadcaster, eNCA, the Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, said provincial departments were looking at how internal grades could be examined on at least 80% of the curriculum.

Educators and experts say this is impractical considering the indefinite nature of the coronavirus pandemic. And so is extending school hours and cancelling holidays.

Eunice Phiri, an educator at Wallmansthal High School in Soshanguve, said learners have had to deal with the anxiety of an uncertain future, compounded by the mounting pressure to cover the curriculum from home.

"Some of these learners are not coping. They have been under immense pressure to continue with the curriculum while facing an uncertain future. And some are repeating grades, so they feel the need to push even as we are faced with a pandemic," she said.

The English language teacher emphasised that whatever plans the department is deriving must be sensitive to the pressures both teachers and students are confronted with....

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