Motshekga, Lesufi to monitor primary schools as pupils return to daily classes

The return of learners at primary school level comes on the back of a successful vaccination programme for the education sector, with more than 517,000 personnel having received their vaccines.

FILE: Children getting their temperature checked at Goza primary school in Soweto. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Primary schooling is expected to take a step closer to normality as thousands of pupils will return to class on a daily basis from Monday.

The decision to allow full attendance of pupils from grades R to 7, as well as learners attending special education needs’ schools, followed extensive talks with the Basic Education Department, teacher unions and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

The department said that the return of primary school children would enable educators to recover teaching time that was lost due to the recently extended school break.

The return of learners at primary school level comes on the back of a successful vaccination programme for the education sector, with more than 517,000 personnel having received their vaccines.

The Basic Education Department said that since June last year, most pupils had been following a rotational timetable to curb the spread of infections in schools.

However, the rotational attendance and sporadic school closures had resulted in many school children falling behind on the curriculum.

While schools that are ready to welcome back pupils on a full-time basis have had to increase their social distancing measures, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that as many as 57 primary schools in the province said that they were not ready to accommodate all pupils just yet.

"We've got 2,300 schools in Gauteng, only 57 schools have overcrowding challenges. Of the 57 schools that have overcrowding challenges or other challenges like electricity, water or other things, we are putting in mobile classrooms. I've personally written letters to all the mayors in our province, requesting that they assist us where there are challenges of water because to fight COVID, you need to wash your hands, frequently, so you can't have a school that has water challenges."

Lesufi will be joined by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to monitor the first day of the return of all primary school pupils.

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