With the 2021 academic year starting while South Africa was in the grips of its second wave of Covid-19 infections, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was facing one of her biggest challenges. Starting the year on the backfoot had a significant impact on teaching and learning. Little did she know that the worst was yet to come, in the form of the monstrous third wave which stretched from May to September.
However, having learnt from the missteps of 2020, Motshekga seemed to take a firmer approach on making up the time and teaching lost due to more severe lockdowns (alert level three and up) and limited on-site teaching.
A drop of 5.1 percentage points in the matric pass rate for 2020 (76.2%) was a stark illustration of the impact of the pandemic on the public education system.