COVID-hit academic year will have adverse effect on learning, warns Motshekga

The epidemic and lockdown resulted in 50% to 75% of learning time being lost last year said Minister Angie Motshekga.

FILE: Grade 7 pupils at a Western Cape primary school on 1 June 2020 sit in class after schools reopened following a national coronavirus lockdown, which started on 27 March 2020. Picture: @WCEDnews/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Basic Education Minister has warned of the adverse effects of losing so much of the academic year due to COVID-19.

The epidemic and lockdown resulted in 50% to 75% of learning time being lost last year said Minister Angie Motshekga. And it's no better this year, with 50%of learning time lost so far.

“Of particular concern are the learning losses reported across the system since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The unpredicted closure of schools and the unplanned disruptions to teaching and learning have resulted in the reversal of gains made in the last 20 years, and unfortunately, research indicates that lost school days, lead to a fall in learning,” she said.

Motshekga added the long-term impact was severe.

“Our international experience and research confirmed that many losses experienced during pandemics lead to long-term adverse effects, including learners obtaining lower overall education value,” Motshekga said.

“The preferred approach across the system has been about three days per week of schooling. So children are losing two days per week in almost half of the system,” said education specialist, Martin Gustafsson.

Teachers and pupils can breathe a little easier, though.

The October school holidays aren't being scrapped.

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