South Africa: Leveraging Off Covid-19 - There Could Be a Silver Lining for Education


The pandemic has raised challenges that offer us an opportunity for a radical reimagining of our education system that could change our future. As we mark World Education Day on 24 January 2021, we argue that social investors will be key to ensuring the success of collective and collaborative efforts between public and private sector players.

The year 2020 was a nightmare for almost all sectors of the economy. While education was certainly not spared the onslaught, it might be possible that the Covid-19 cloud may have created a unique silver lining for the sector.

Covid-19's impact on education has been significant. First, there are the obvious school closures. By most estimates, this has resulted in a loss of about 82-87 days for all grades that were not open (grades 1-5 and 8-10) in 2020. Ordinarily there are about 200 school days in South Africa's schooling calendar, meaning that about 40% of school time was lost. Given the number of variables still at play, it is guesswork to determine whether 2021 will see similar numbers. But it can be safely assumed that we will continue to see significant school disruptions.

In our education system, time for effective teaching and learning...

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