Only Grades R, 6 and 11 will return to school on Monday

(Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)
(Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

  • Less than a week away from opening its gates to more grades, the Department of Education has done a U-turn, announcing that not all grades, as planned, will return.
  • Grade R, 6 and 11 will return on Monday and a date will be announced when the other grades go back.
  • Reasons for the decision were based on reports submitted by the Council of Education Ministers.

The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) has decided that only pupils in Grades R, 6 and 11 will return to school on Monday, 6 July. This after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga met with Education MECs on Thursday.

The meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule, along with the heads of education departments, considered five reports which focused on key areas in the sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the department said in a statement.

Among the reports was the implementation of the Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs) in the context of proposed timetabling models and fundamental curriculum elements to focus on per grade for the available time left in the academic year.

They also touched on examinations and assessments for the rest of the year. 

The Department of Basic Education said:
These reports provided a broad review of all the developments relating to the phased approach to the return of learners to school. CEM received reports since the first reopening phase and assessed the level or readiness of each Provincial Education Department to receive more learners as envisaged from the 06 July 2020.

"After careful consideration of all the reports, CEM took a decision that only Grade 6, Grade 11 and Grade R will return to school on Monday, 6 July 2020. The decision affects all provinces," the department said.

Other grades will be phased in during the month in a differentiated approach in specified time frames.

ALSO READ | Lockdown: Children in pre-Grade R stages won't return to school yet, regulations amended

Pupils in Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 were expected to return to classrooms on Monday, joining their peers in Grades 7 and 12, who returned on 8 June, after being away for more than 10 weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We will adjust the reopening phases, based on the risk-adjusted strategy, which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to School Reopening, taking into account all factors that affect the work we do," Motshekga said.

The minister said the department was guided by observations of the spike in cases, recognising that schools were based in communities, directly affecting pupils.

News24 reported on Thursday that schools, through their principals, had said they were already having difficulties in screening Grade 7 and 12 pupils. They anticipated they weren't going to cope when other grades returned, according to a survey conducted by teacher unions.

Motshekga is expected to brief the nation at the weekend to elaborate further on the revised plans.

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