Today is the first day back at school for many learners, following the postponement of the reopening of schools.
Equal Education Secretary General, Noncedo Madubedube said the organisation is still concerned about school admissions.
A total of 16 117 learners have not received school placements, raising concerns about the future of learners.
"So many learners have been forced out of the schooling system in the last year, so 16 000 is a worrying number because that has a ripple effect around how many learners are able to finish the schooling system and Covid just compounds that kind of issue."
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said senior managers in the Basic Education sector have been working hard to strengthen plans for 2021.
"We will continue to maintain the delicate balance between health and safety in schools on the one hand, while on the other, we deal with the curriculum gaps identified during the 2020 academic year."
Schools will continue to use a rotational timetable to help schools follow the social distancing measures.
- Daily and weekly rotation - Learners report to school on some days of the week, while others learn from home
- Bi-weekly rotation - 50% of learners in the school report to school, based on their grade
- Platooning - students go to school everyday, but alternate between morning lessons and afternoon lessons
“Schools with large enough facilities to comply with health, safety, and social distancing requirements do not have to change their traditional and daily timetable models, and may continue to operate in accordance with those timetable models,” Motshekga said.
Schools that have large enough facilities can accommodate more than 50 learners, parents and officials at a time. These schools would need to follow all Covid-19 social distancing measures.
With many learners returning to school, some schools have been demanding money from parents.
“There are schools that are reported to be charging parents registration deposits. Others are charging parents exorbitant amounts to pay staff the section 42 bonuses.
“We must advise schools to avoid such temptations; as the first is illegal; and second is completely unreasonable, especially as it is done and enforced under the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.” said the Minister.
However, parents have been urged to pay school fees if their children attend fee paying schools.
“It is important to clarify this matter. There are two types of public schools in the country, the fee-paying schools and no-fee paying schools. Fee-paying schools are allowed to charge school fees, as determined at the annual general meeting of the SGB [school governing body]. Therefore, the payment of school fees in such schools is mandatory,” said Motshekga.