No Final Decision On Full Return To Schools Yet

There has been discussions within government on whether all learners will be returning to school full time. When will this be happening? Will the third wave affect the decision?

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The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has now said that it could take months for a final decision to be made about all learners returning to schools full time.

The Department's spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, made it clear that this decision will not be reached this week.

Just last week, the Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli, sat in a meeting with provincial heads of department (HODs) to discuss this matter.

However, DBE is said to still be working on their formal proposal which will be presented to the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), and Cabinet.

Cabinet will then make the final decision.

It was agreed that a formal proposal will be put together which will then be taken forward to the necessary platforms in the sector.

- Elijah Mhlanga, DBE Spokesperson

Mhlanga further explained, "We don't decide, we rather propose because we are dealing with a public health matter which is not our mandate so we can't decide. So we can't decide, but we can make a case, propose and hear what they say. We need to do this responsibly."

Should the decision be made that all learners must return full-time, this will first be done for primary schools as Mhlanga says, "that's where the problems are happening the most".

The young ones forget very easily, very quickly and teachers feel they are starting afresh every day because there is no consistency in contact teaching.

Another contributing factor is the third wave which many are expecting due to the school holidays.

RELATED: COVID-19 Cases May Increase Over School Holidays

Educators are concerned that too many learners are being left behind with some schools increasing their rotation system to 80%.

There have been huge gaps in contact teaching and Mhlanga says the learning losses have been too large to even imagine.

"We can't afford to lose any more time"

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