Learners weigh in on their future due to the Covid-19 lockdown

Will some of these concerns be addressed today?

This discussion was brought about to ease the curious young minds of some of the country’s learners who are feeling uneasy with regard to the lack of clarity around their current schooling year.

How will the Department of Education recover lost time? Will learners have to repeat the school year? Will universities and other tertiary institutions lower their admission point scores?

These were among the questions brought to the table by learners who participated in a webinar on 12 May as part of Media Monitoring Africa’s (MMA) web series titled Getting to Grips. Based in Parkhurst, MMA hopes to provide a platform that can educate young minds about the coronavirus and its impact on their daily lives. This discussion was brought about to ease the curious young minds of some of the country’s learners who are feeling uneasy with regard to the lack of clarity around their current schooling year. With over 40 days already lost in the school year, the learners admitted to feeling anxious.

Since the country phased into Level 4 of the national lockdown the Department of Basic Education has been deliberating on when exactly school will open and under which circumstances will they operate.

Aside from the provisional date of 1 June for grades 7 and 12, the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga is yet to announce a final date. According to a learner by the name of Trevor, he is concerned about the phased approach directed at grade 7 and 12 learners. “Although it was said that learners will not be seated together in the classrooms, what will happen when all the other grades phase in? We will be squashed in class and right back to where we started,” he said.

On the receiving end was deputy director of social mobilisation and support for the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Likho Bottoman. “We are anticipating that by the time other grades come back to school, the rate and density of the virus will have decreased in our country,” he said. Bottoman added that the question of social distancing in classrooms is only available in South Africa. “Other countries have resumed classes as normal while heavily investing in personal protective equipment (PPE). We cannot go against our own regulations,” he said.

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