JONATHAN JANSEN | Our unproductive school system must realise that time is money

After engaging with school leaders and doing a few sums, it seems many schools only make use of 35% of the time allocated for teaching

01 March 2023 - 20:15

Why does South Africa consistently produce the lowest learning outcomes on the continent? I worked through this question earlier in the week with school leaders in one of the largest provinces. This is what we found. The province has 199 official school days for teaching and learning. About 55 of those days are set aside for assessment and examinations, leaving 144 days for the core business of the school. I then asked the principals and their senior teams what other days are lost to teaching and learning. Here was their list, and I have added my own estimates in brackets of total days lost on average: workshop days (10), study leave (5), cultural days (2), sports days (1), illness (3), union meetings (5), funerals (3) department meetings (3), natural disasters (5) and other unforeseen events, making up say, another 50 days in total. This means there are now 91 days left...

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