All Schools Won't See Full Capacity Return of Learners

All Schools Won't See Full Capacity Return of Learners

From today, primary schools all over the country will be welcoming all learners back full-time. This will however not be happening at every single school in South Africa and here's why.


2 August marks the first day we see primary school learners return to school at full capacity. However, this won't be the case for all schools in South Africa.

The Department of Basic Education Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, has said that schools are however not forced to implement the full-time return:

We are implementing what we call the risk adjusted differentiated strategy which means that each school, each province, each district, will make an assessment of whether they can allow all the learners to return or not.

If schools are not able to do this and don't have the resources need to, they can continue using the rotational timetable. They should only return at full capacity if it is safe to do so and all safety protocols are in place.

There is a shortage of classrooms seen across the country and with social distancing needing to be followed, all schools won't have the necessary space to fulfill this for classrooms with over 30 learners.

"With the risk adjusted differentiated strategy, we are saying where it is possible do it, where it is not possible, don't do it," explained Mhlanga.

Don't do something that won't be taking into account the safety of learners. We need to make sure that we do the right thing.

This does however call into question the difference in progress which will be seen in school that can and those who can return to the traditional timetable. The department is not clear when it comes to plans on this with Mhlanga saying, "it's a difficult situation, it's a difficult balancing act that we need to try to achieve".

The department is now monitoring how this return is going and see if schools were able to sort out any challenges they have.

This change to a full-time timetable came about due to the losses incurred from the pandemic and how devastating this has been for schools. Dropout rates have worsened, school nutrition programmes have seen bumps and learners are behind when it comes to where they should be academically.


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