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October school holidays set to continue as normal

Article by: Dumisane Dube

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says October school holidays will not fall away, as it was previously mentioned.

Motshekga addressed the media on the education sector’s response to the impact of Covid-19.

“The Council of Education Ministers met on Friday to consider inputs from stakeholders, following rounds of consultations, regarding the already amended school calendar for the 2021 academic year,” Motshekga explained.

According to Motshega the CEM agreed that the amended 2021 school calendar must be retained as it was from its very last amendment.

“CEM further recommended that the lost number of school days, should be recovered at district and school-level, but with reasonableness,” added Motshega.

The minister says the unplanned disruptions of teaching and learning amid covid19 have resulted in the reversal of gains made in the last 20 years.

“International experience confirms learning losses experienced during pandemics, lead to long-term adverse effects, including learners obtaining lower overall educational value, and ultimately lower lifetime earnings

She says the department has begun to measure Covid-19 related learning losses locally by comparing how much children learnt in 2020, with how much they learned in an average school year before that. 

The minister further said data from the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), a broad survey on the impact of Covid-19 in South Africa, found that more school-aged children were not attending school than usual.

“It is not yet clear whether this is temporary non-attendance, or may become permanent (dropouts) from schooling. In the long run, the learning losses in primary school may lead to an increase in dropouts when these children reach the Further Education and Training (FET) band at Grades 10, 11 and 12,”She said.

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