Motshekga says exam period will be used for curriculum catch-up
The department of education is cancelling the mid-year exams for grade 12 pupils to allow them time to cover the curriculum.
In a presentation to the portfolio committee on basic education yesterday on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on teaching and learning, minister Angie Motshekga said the department is keeping the grade 12s in class for as long as they can.
She also addressed issues of the risk adjusted differentiated strategy and readiness of primary schools to receive all pupils from July.
“We want to make up for the loss of time and for them to cover the curriculum. They did not go on holiday in March and most of the schools are giving extra classes. The June period of exams will be used to cover the curriculum. We also have a team monitoring Covid19 infections on a daily basis,” Motshekga said.
The department’s official, Prof Martin Gustafsson, said all pupils in the country lost about 75% of year’s worth of learning and 54% of contact time last year.
“The learning loss was as a result of psycho-social effects and less effective teaching. The learners also did not have much contact time because of the closure of schools and rotational attendance. Teachers were also not used to teaching every second day as they are not trained for that. Also, teacher mortality during the pandemic affected teaching,” he said.
Gustafsson said secondarylevel educators appeared to face no higher risks than those at primary-level, despite secondary pupils being potentially more infectious.
director of care and support in schools, Dr Faith Khumalo, said primary school educators will be provided with psycho-social services to prepare them for the return of primary school pupils.
“We hope that a number of teachers would have been vaccinated. To keep trace of infections at schools, there will be
an updated risk profile every two weeks,” Khumalo said.
“It is also important for principals to report positive cases of Covid-19 at their schools so that we can monitor the number of cases closely. However, in high hotspot areas, the department will consider the return to rotation of classes.”
Department’s acting direcChief tor-general, Dr Granville Whittle, said 35,000 screeners, who will also double as cleaners, will be employed when primary school pupils return to school on a fulltime basis.
“All vacancies for teachers will be filled. The shortage of furniture will also be addressed and there will be provisions of mobile classroom to adhere to social distancing,” Whittle said.
The department’s presentation received a nod from the portfolio committee.
Committee chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said losing 54% of teaching time was quite a lot and it would not be easy to recover.
“The department has assured us that issues of social distances will be adhered to. We are of the view that primary school learners must go back to school. We have been briefed that they are not seriously at risk. Need to ensure that the environment is very conducive for them to go to school,” Mbingo-Gigaba said.