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According to reports, the Department of Basic Education is considering the return of learners to schools on a full-time basis, but it will depend on various factors and health protocols…

Departmental spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said in an interview with News24 that Covid-19 has affected learners a lot more than initially anticipated. In an annual government workshop this week it was revealed that schools would only recover from the impact by 2030.

Currently, most primary schools are operating on a cycling rotation – where learners come in to school on alternating days. For the schools that have the capacity for online learning, students are able to work from home on the days they are at school – but the system is simply not working according to Mhlanga.

According to IOL, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa’s Basil Manuel, unions have not been included in any discussions as yet with regard to opening schools full time but says that they expect to be consulted on the matter soon.

Safety for both learners and teachers remains a major concern.

In a recent address, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga mourned the loss of over 1,300 teachers throughout the pandemic.

“According to the recent study using the “so-called excess deaths approach” to estimate Covid-19 deaths among publicly employed educators, we have lost just over 1,321 teachers by 25 January 2021. The excess death figure of public sector teachers stood at 760 by 15 December 2020.”

“These figures are only for the employed government teachers whose details appear on the government payroll system, which registers deaths, though not the cause of death.”


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