IN QUOTES | 'We will trim down the curriculum' - Angie Motshekga on reopening schools

26 June 2020 - 13:11 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Education minister Angie Motshekga says the department is doing all it can to prepare for the second phase of reopening schools.
Education minister Angie Motshekga says the department is doing all it can to prepare for the second phase of reopening schools.
Image: GCIS

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has given a progress report on reopening schools. She was talking during a virtual sitting of  education MECs.

The second phased return of pupils includes grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6 and 10 on July 6.

Here are seven telling quotes from the minister:

Shortage of resources

“We are working with the National Treasury to see if we can find more resources because as a department we have been completely overburdened and overstretched with resources but we are also hopeful after the discussions we had.”

Teachers with underlying conditions

“We have quite a number of teachers who have declared that they have comorbidities. The rules state that it is a doctor who can declare if you can stay [at home]. You can’t decide [to stay home] because you are 60 and have diabetes. If it is controlled, therefore you must go to work.”

Pupils with comorbidities

“Different schools and provinces are putting measures in place to make sure that they are not left behind.”

Matric examinations

“We don’t want a class of 2020 whose matric is doubtful. They would rather write later because we want the matric certificate to have the same credibility and currency than any other certificate. We are not compromising and we have moved the exams from starting in October to November. They will start a month later.”

Curriculum overlap

“We have also made sure that we trim down the curriculum. We will link the 2020 year with 2021 so that some of the topics will be moved to the next year so [learners] don’t miss out on anything that they are supposed to have learnt. We will make sure that we salvage what we can.”

Covid-19 cases in schools

“The people who tested positive in our schools are people we have screened at the entrance. Through the screening process they would have been identified with all the symptoms and sent to the department of health.”

Catch-up plan

“If we don’t deal with the loss of time for 2020, we may have longer-term problems in terms of curriculum deficits. The grade 12 catch-up plan that I have received from provinces is intensive. There are camps and Saturday and Sunday classes. The long-term problem will hit us three years down the line. We will have children who were supposed to have had 12 years of schooling coming out with the system with 11 years.”