DA wants school day to be extended by an hour to make up for time lost during lockdown

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The DA wants school days to be extended by an hour.
The DA wants school days to be extended by an hour.
Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • The DA wants school days to be extended by an hour for pupils to catch up on the curriculum.
  • The party also wants pupils, who dropped out since the start of the pandemic, to be traced and returned to school.
  • The department confirmed that 13.5 million pupils returned to school this week.

The DA wants the school day to be extended by at least an hour to allow pupils to catch up on the curriculum.

All pupils returned to school this week after Cabinet scrapped rotational learning on 1 February. 

The government said the decision was based on information gathered by the health department, which proved that SA had exited the fourth wave.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, schools have used the rotational method to limit the number of people at schools and to minimise the spread of the virus.

DA spokesperson Baxolile Nodada said the party would table its curriculum recovery plan to the basic education department. 

Nodada said, as part of the recovery plan, the DA would suggest at least an extra hour be added to a school day. 

READ | Covid-19: Cabinet to announce end to rotational classes at schools, as DA approaches court

"Secondly, it is important to rope in retired teachers for extra lessons after school and even on weekends, so that learners can catch up on the curriculum, particularly the aspect of reading, writing and numeracy," said Nodada. 

"We will be monitoring the curriculum recovery plan to ensure it has been put in place by the department. Secondly, there must be a tracking, tracing and retaking strategy, particularly for all the learners that have dropped out during Covid-19."

He said the department should work with the social development department to track those pupils, and get them back to school.   

It is estimated that some 750 000 pupils dropped out of school during the pandemic, said Nodada.    


"We have been doing oversight visits at all provinces in the entire country, which we concluded on Monday. The main aspect of the oversight visits was to see what kind of recovery plans were put in place at schools."

Asked to respond to DA's school day extension suggestion, basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: "If they want to extend the school day, they can start in the Western Cape and do it there. As a sector, we want all learners back in class and schools fully functional. All other suggestions will be addressed in due course. We don't want to confuse people by sending mixed messages."

READ | Return to full-time education will improve learning outcomes - experts

Nodada also confirmed his party had withdrawn the application it filed in the Gauteng High Court to force the department to end rotational learning and return all pupils to schools.

This, after the department, which had already begun a process to end rotational learning when the DA made the move, returned all 13.5 million pupils to school before the DA's matter could even be heard in court. 

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