South Africa: Last Cohort of Learners Will Go Back to Class On 31 August


Amended regulations published by the Department of Basic Education will see the last cohort of learners return to school on the last day of August. This cohort comprises Grade 5 and Grade 8 learners who presumably have been out of school since March.

While priority has aptly been given to Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners, some grades have not been to school since March following the announcement of the nationwide lockdown.

By 20 July - three days before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a break for public schools - only grades R, 3, 6, 7, 11, and 12 had returned to school. Left behind were grades 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10, who had initially been scheduled to return between 27 July and 31 August. These grades lost approximately 89 school days.

Although the Department of Basic Education (DBE) broadcast lessons for learners on radio and television, and provided access to free-rated educational websites, there is no measure of whether the remote learning options were effective, especially in the absence of educators.

According to the new regulations, educators are expected to return to school as determined by the dates of returning grades, while school management teams and principals...

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