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Western Cape Schools Record Good Attendance Rate

While other provinces have been struggling to get learners to attend classes, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said it has seen a slight increase in the attendance of learners. Although the attendance rate has improved, schools in the province still face problems.

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 According to the WCED, 77% of registered grade 7 learners are attending classes, while 87% of grade 12 learners have returned to classes to prepare for their final exams. 

Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL), Lorraine Botha, said class attendance has not been as easy to maintain because of the rotational timetable.  

“There are 14 weeks left of the 2020 academic year and with the nature of the mandatory phased in approached, contact time is dramatically reduced due to alternating attendance of grades,” she said.

Minister Angie Motshekga announced the use of rotational timetable in August. The timetable was introduced to help learners and school staff keep a physical distance on school grounds.

“When learners come back we won’t have enough space to ensure physical distancing so we are going to have to use differentiated timetables which are going to be either daily rotations because we can’t all be here at the same time every day, there won’t be enough space for all of them to safely distance,” said the Minister.

Botha said learners needed to make the most out of the time left while the department would continue making sure all schools have the resources they need. 

"The Standing Committee of Education at Provincial Parliament will thus embark on an oversight week to schools in the province in order to gain insights on the remaining challenges experienced under the phased-in approached.”

Botha said although the attendance rate has improved, learners in grade 4 have recorded a low attendance rate.

She encouraged parents to send learners back to school if they are able to attend classes.

“Parents and caregivers are encouraged to enquire from schools information relating to their Temporary Revised Education Plans and send learners who are able to attend, back to school accordingly.”

She said learners in grades 5 and 8 have recorded an average attendance rate of 67.7%. 

The Department of Basic Education will continue to monitor the school system for the rest of the academic year. 

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