POLL | Would you consider making online schooling permanent?

20 January 2021 - 06:50
Government schools are due to reopen on February 15. Some private schools have already started lessons and have switched to online tuition. Stock photo.
Government schools are due to reopen on February 15. Some private schools have already started lessons and have switched to online tuition. Stock photo.
Image: PAYLESSIMAGES/123RF

With most schools in SA set to reopen in mid-February, independent schools such as Curro have announced plans to move to online learning for pupils in grades 1 to 12.

The private school group announced learning at all its schools nationwide will move online from Tuesday.

The group had initially said it would hold face-to-face classes this week but halted plans after Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi called for schools to wait for an official government gazette when pupils return to school on February 15.

Speaking on Cape Talk, Independent Schools Association of SA (Isasa) executive director Lebogang Montjane said private schools that had opted to remain open were not breaking any laws.

“There is no regulation that precludes an independent school from opening at this point in time. Those schools are not breaking the law if they have pupils on campus,” he said.

Montjane said it was unreasonable to expect schools to rearrange plans and shut down following the government’s decision to postpone the reopening of schools.

“Some schools had to call in students this weekend to set them up for online learning. I think it’s not reasonable to expect schools to shut down within a minute,” said Montjane.

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande said when the academic year starts in March for universities and TVET colleges, students will receive data for online learning.

“Our intention is to make sure no student is left behind during these turbulent times of the pandemic, but also find a sustainable long-term strategy that ensures the post-school education and training institutions sector does not revert to pre-Covid status in relation to access to online resources by students and lecturers,” said Nzimande.

“Unlike in 2020, when we were dealing with one academic year, at this point in time we are dealing with the completion of the 2020 academic year and the opening of the 2021 academic year.

“The department will be engaging with mobile network operators including MTN, Telkom, Vodacom and Cell C with the intention that data becomes accessible to students.

“We will also ensure the zero-rating of educational websites remains a critical point. Where students cannot be granted data and connectivity in areas with poor network infrastructure, we will be working towards innovative mechanisms for ensuring they access teaching and learning support material.”


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