Monday marked the first day back at school for many learners. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga paid a visit to schools in Gauteng to welcome learners for the rest of the year.
The Minister has encouraged learners to work hard in order to make up for lost time.
“Scientists estimate that last year we lost almost 60% of our teaching time. For that time you had to close for a long period and even when you came back you had to go into rotation and all sorts of things that take away teaching time.” said Motshekga.
Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer has also urged learners to return to school this year.
"Please rethink that decision. It's really important that you finish your schooling. If you don't have basic schooling, it limits your chances in every single thing you do in life."
In 2020, the department lost 5 weeks of teaching time due to the lockdown. Schools also lost teaching time this year after the department postponed reopening.
However, Minister Motshekga said the department is now working to help schools catch up on parts of the curriculum that were trimmed in 2020.
“It means we have to work for the 100% of this year and still claw back the 60% we lost last year. It is the big task,” she said.
It could take public schools 3 years to catch up with the curriculum that was trimmed in 2020.
This year, schools will continue to use a rotational timetable in order to follow 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
The rest of the 2021 school year will go as follows for learners:
- Term 1: 15 February - 23 April 2021.
- Term 2: 3 May – 9 July 2021
- Term 3: 26 July – 1 October 2021
- Term 4: 11 October – 15 December 2021