6 things you need to know from Angie Motshekga's level 1 briefing

02 October 2020 - 13:31

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has pleaded with parents to “release” their children to return to school after concerns about attendance under lockdown level 1.

Motshekga on Thursday hosted a media briefing on key developments in the education sector relating to level 1 restrictions.

She said the department's assessment on pupils' attendance showed that between 80 and 90% of pupils have returned to schooling since schools reopened after the Covid-19 break.

Here is Motshekga’s address in six quotes.

Rotation system

According to Motshekga, schools continue to implement the rotation system, by either implementing staggered days of attendance or platooning.

“The rotation or platooning approach which schools are using means that there are designated days when learners are at school, and other designated days they are not.

“This again increases the risk of them losing interest, and forgetting critical curriculum topics already covered at school. The difficulties in timetabling will be with us for the remainder of the year, as we continue to balance teaching and learning while saving lives.”

Support for pupils 

She said provinces have put in place a whole range of measures to support pupils, but parents and communities also need to pay ball in showing support.

“We need to work together with parents and communities to support the children. In addition to the extra classes provided at our schools, the department has launched Woza Matrics, in collaboration with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT). 

“This is an initiative designed to provide additional support to the matric class of 2020, as they prepare for exams. We thank all the partners involved in the initiative.”

Teachers with comorbidities

Teachers with comorbidities, who were granted concessions to work from home in levels 3 and 2, are expected to report for duty, said Motshekga.

“Provinces have reported that all the teachers have gone back to work, except those teachers who are on maternity or sick leave.

“Health and safety measures remain in place and everybody is expected to comply, as we work to finish the work for the academic year.”

Nutrition programme

She said the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) was one of the challenges the department had to deal with as a result of the forced closure of schools

“Initially, the number of learners coming to access the meals was low but we have now seen a drastic improvement. Various provinces have arranged transport for learners not in school to get their meals or collect their food parcels.

“This has assisted in increasing the number of beneficiaries who should be getting their meal supply daily. The reopening of schools has helped to ensure that more learners receive their much-needed meals.”

Change in ECD programmes

She said the education department, along with the social development department, was planning on changing the leadership and responsibility for the provision of early child development (ECD) programmes.

“We are working on developing a detailed implementation plan to ensure that the transition is seamless and that the integrated ECD ecosystem in our country serves and protect our children so they can thrive later in life. The details will be communicated once proper engagements with all stakeholders have taken place.

“All children in SA deserve to thrive and we believe that the function shift will allow us to enhance the delivery of support to the ECD sector.”

Violence and bullying

Motshekga expressed concern about the escalation of physical contact due to several incidents of violence and bullying of pupils.

“It is disturbing to note an escalation of physical contact at a time when we are also fighting the pandemic. All of us must remember and practise all stipulated health, safety and social distancing measures to curb Covid-19 infections.

“We will revive our school safety management structures; including the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC), and school governing bodies to immediately deal with bullying and violence among learners.”