Learners Have Lost Over 50% of Curriculum Over Last Two Years
When looking at timelines and just how many days learners have not been in school for over the past two years, it's quite obvious that Covid has flipped the schooling sector upside down. Major losses in teaching and learning have now been seen.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is concerned when it comes to the major loss of teaching and learning time experienced since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago.
Factors that contributed to this loss include the days where no schooling occurred, delayed school reopening and learner absenteeism increasing. This can have a long lasting negative impact on society and learners will be behind.
Schools were closed in March 2020 with DBE Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga saying, "we did not know when the reopening was going to take place. There was no schooling of any type whatsoever because we were on level 5."
Grade 12 and 7 learners then went back in June and the last grades returned to school on 31st August which means there were some learners who were sitting at home since March. When these returns happened, it was on a rotational basis.
In January 2021, the department planned to have schools open on 27 January but due to the second wave, this did not happen. Schools then only reopened on 15 February.
In July, schools were forced to close early again and the winter holidays had a week added.
This shows all the major delays and losses the past two school years have seen with Mhlanga saying, "Just the days alone, we have lost a lot".
We were told by research, which was released some time in June, that learners in the past year have lost 50% to 75% of the work was supposed to be done. In the past year, learners have learned a quarter of what they were supposed to have learned.
He continued to say that this shows that there are serious deficits.
The grade 11 class of 2020 is the grade 12 class of 2021 and they have not finished the work they did in 2020 but have to step into a big year in the schooling career.
This year, we are trying to get as many days, as many hours, as we can so that we can put as much effort into curriculum coverage as we can do.
This is why the latest proposal put forward by the department is to have the October school holidays scrapped, but school governing bodies and teacher unions have opposed this.
Mhlanga also said that South Africa might follow what other countries have done and keep schools open when Covid waves occur explaining, "schools are safe places, places where everyone is forced to comply".
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