We'll do whatever we can to 'finish the year - not just matrics, all grades' - Motshekga


The Class of 2020 will not go down the drain, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga assured South Africans on Saturday at an inter-ministerial briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Pretoria.

She said her department was determined to ensure that matric pupils finish the academic year.

At least 600 000 matriculants are expected to write their final exams this year. 

All schools shut on 18 March because of the virus outbreak. 

"We are doing all we can to protect and defend the year. We are going to do whatever we can to make sure they finish the year - not just matrics, all grades." 

Motshekga said the department was preparing recovery materials which would intensify teaching at the end of the lockdown. She added that even if the lockdown was extended, the sector had a plan.

On Thursday, the minister said the department, in collaboration with its regional offices, prepared online and broadcast support resources, with subject content and a focus on Grade 12 pupils, News24 reported. Some of the content is expected to be made available from 1 April.

The department said it was working closely with key partners, such as SABC TV and Radio, DStv and community radio stations.

Schools, universities and TVET colleges were the first sectors to be shut down when President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster.

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande agreed, saying tertiary students could not afford to lose the year. 

"As much as we are looking at the 21-day period, we are looking way beyond that to make sure we don't lose the 2020 academic year," he said. 

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Meanwhile, Nzimande announced the 80 TVET college students who were repatriated from China on 20 March and quarantined at Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni, would be able to go home soon.

Two of the students tested positive for tuberculosis before landing, but tested negative for Covid-19, he said. 

Nzimande said he was also speaking to colleges to pursue modalities for online learning, adding that he was communicating with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies about access to free data to expand online learning. 

"We will further develop a structured catch-up programme for the annual national curriculum programmes," Nzimande said.

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