Learners will be returning to daily classes soon and this has caused mixed reactions, as unions and parents have come forward to share their thoughts with the Department of Basic Education.
Naptosa Executive Director, Basil Manuel has a mixed reaction to learners returning to the traditional timetable system from 26 July.
Initially, Naptosa was concerned that the department had not found a balance between the safety and the mental health of learners and teachers.
But, soon after consulting with Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, Naptosa decided to support the department’s decision to reintroduce the traditional timetable system.
“We are painfully aware from the very same teachers of the stories about how many learners have just not mastered the basics such as reading. By grade 2, we’re sitting with a cohort of kids that can hardly read.”
Despite supporting the department’s decision, Naptosa has vowed to keep an eye on the department in order to keep track of its progress and any areas where it is slacking.
Some parents in the Northern Cape have expressed their concerns about what the return to the traditional timetable system could mean for their children.
The province has seen an increase in cases, adding more doubts to how schools will cope.
Northern Cape Health MEC, Maruping Lekwene said the province will need to increase its nursing staff in order to meet the possible demand it will face under the third wave.
"We are managing, our only weakness for now is we have to increase our nursing staff in our key hospitals which we are giving attention to, and luckily we are getting support from the treasury in the province and also the premier."
The province’s education department has assured parents that the move to daily classes will run smoothly, as the department has plans in place.
"It's not going to be an all-inclusive process, we are going to make assessments, we are going to make sure that those schools that are ready, where the infections are under control and low, they will return back to school. In cases where the infections are high, we will be assisted by the SGBs" said Zolile Monakali, Northern Cape Education MEC.
Basic Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said the process of returning to the traditional timetable system will start with learners in grades R to 7, with the possibility of it being rolled out to learners in high school.
“We are doing this for the first time since COVID-19 started. We need time to do what needs to be done ahead of learners returning but also to align to the calendar so that when schools close we all prepare for the full return of primary schools on the 26 of July 2021, the high schools will come later.”
“There is an intention to return them as well but the science right now does indicate that the risk is much higher with older children that is why we are starting with primary school children,” added Mhlanga.