Education MECs across SA visit schools as term three kicks off on Monday

Winter holidays were abruptly brought forward last month due to the third wave of COVID-19 infections.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Panyaza Lesufi/Twitter

JOHANENSBURG - Education MECs across the country have been visiting schools as teachers and pupils return to the classroom officially from Monday.

Winter holidays were abruptly brought forward last month due to the third wave of COVID-19 infections.

In Gauteng, MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the province was working to ensure that all schools were ready for the full return of primary school pupils from next week.

He said they would also be assessing whether all grades could return to daily classes soon: “We are monitoring the grade 7s, because the age group between the grade 7s and 8s in our schools is not that bad. So, if the numbers are not that high, then we will go back to the minister and motivate that other school levels can come back as well.”

Meanwhile in Limpopo, Education MEC Polly Boshielo has welcomed pupils and all staff back to school.

She said they would be using this week to monitor the reopening of schools and assist where there may be challenges.

Her spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said: “Learners are returning to school this week on rotational timetables as was the case before recess. And the full attendance for primary school learners is planned for Monday, 2 August 2021.”

MOVING TO ONLINE LEARNING PERMANENTLY

Schools around the country reopen just as South Africa looks to have passed the peak of the third wave of COVID infections, some pupils have opted to make online learning a permanent feature.

The global pandemic has had a devastating impact on the education sector, which has resulted in a number of school closures and exams being postponed.

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of online learning in the education sector, not only as a short-term measure, with some pupils telling Eyewitness News they would not be returning to the conventional classroom.

Deepika Maharaj is a pupil at Valenture Institute in Johannesburg, she said the COVID-19 pandemic made it extremely difficult for her to learn, which affected her marks.

“The teachers weren’t really trained to teach online and we missed out on lessons and work.”

While her fellow classmate Anami Mabundla said her parents noticed that she started doing well when classes went online and decided to enroll her in the online school.

“We thought it was a really good idea to [switch to] online schools automatically.”

Last week, the University of Cape Town launched its first online high school in Africa with classes expected to start next year.

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