Only 79 of 424 primary schools in Northern Cape return to full attendance amid staff, space shortages

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PHOTO: GCIS
  • Only 79 Northern Cape schools have returned to full attendance.
  • The province faces a shortage of staff, classrooms and furniture.
  • For now, a differentiated timetabling model is being used.


Less than a quarter of Northern Cape primary schools have returned to full attendance as the province's education department struggles to fund additional classrooms and staff.

All pupils returned to school on Monday, but the Northern Cape Department of Education said that maintaining the mandatory 1.5-metre social distancing requirement among pupils meant that only 79 of the 424 primary schools could return to full attendance.

Education department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said:

"This will require additional classroom space, as well as teaching staff, which the department at this point is unable to budget for.

"In addition to this, the indication is that Covid-19 infections are on the increase in some districts, hence the Northern Cape Department of Education will continue with the differentiated timetabling model, as well as the differentiated risk-adjusted strategy, as adopted for the education sector," Van der Merwe said.

Only schools in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols and guidelines will be allowed to return to the traditional daily school timetable model, Van der Merwe said.

He said:

Key to this decision is the fact that more schools would need additional furniture, additional educators and an adequate supply of water in order to ensure full compliance with Covid-19 protocols and guidelines.

"We have communicated our provincial situation to the Department of Basic Education and relevant stakeholders that for now we will continue with the differentiated timetabling model, which is in the best interest of both learners and educators," he said.

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