Some Learners Might Opt To Repeat The Grade

Learners in South African schools were thrown into the deep end this year. Now, some parents and learners are even contemplating scrapping the year and redoing it. The Minister addressed this while answering questions on school attendance.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has said that 10% of learners, excluding Matrics, have not returned to school once lockdown regulations allowed it.

With the National Lockdown being imposed, schools were closed for months. Then, the President allowed for schools to open again on the basis of a rotational timetable as far as attendance goes.

Some learners would come on certain days of the school week. This, however, has been difficult to monitor, said the Minister.

"We estimate that between Grade 1s and Grade 11, there is 10% of learners that we cannot account for. It could be that they are waiting to re-register," said the Minister.

During a virtual social cluster oral reply session in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the Minister said:

It could be that some parents have already decided that they are going to wait for next year. And the other thing which has been difficult is the timetable that we are using because kids come this week, the next week they are not coming.

Motshekga said that one possibility could also be that learners and parents are aware that they have lost a lot of contact learning days and then though it would just be better to repeat a grade or even engage in homeschooling. 

The Minister continued to say, "We will have a definite number. We can also share with members of parliament, now that we write exams".

Matrics in the country are currently writing their final exams for the 2020 academic year and even though this exam season has just begun, it has already seen bumps. 

Shortly before the exams were set to begin, the Department announced that all matrics will write their final exams regardless of their health status. This, however, caused confusion and was done without consultation of some provincial departments and unions.

Now, the Department has released a circular fully outlining the exam protocols schools should follow including that Matrics who test positive for Covid and are fit to write will do so in an isolated venue which could even be a hospital. 

Parents are also urged to alert the school should their child have the virus or symptoms and if they don't, legal action could be taken against them.

Matric exams commenced on 5 November and will come to and end on 15 December.

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