One of South Africa’s education experts thinks the rest of the School’s calendar year should be scrapped and all leaders be progressed onto the next grade.

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“We currently do not know when schools will reopen in South Africa and what we do know is that when schools are eventually reopened, they will not be able to proceed as usual for two reasons,” Jansen said in an interview with the SABC News.

The amount of work that teachers and students would need to cover before the end of the year would be overwhelming which would be unfair considering that the CAPS schools curriculum was already overloaded without the halting brought by the lockdown.

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According to Professor Jansen, the COVID-19 pandemic is a new scenario faced by the education system – which means it “completely unreasonable” to expect teachers and learners to “simply switch on” again and continue with the school year.

In as much as schools have been implementing online learning, it is important to note that almost 80% of the total number of students in South Africa do not have resources to use to do online learning meaning a small portion gained from online learning. This simply means it would be unfair for students who come from poor backgrounds.

Jansen said the scrapping of the school year would work as follows:

  • When schools reopen, continue as normal in terms of teaching children the curriculum.
  • Do not put pressure on teachers.
  • Pass every learner in Grade 1 to Grade 11 at the end of the year.
  • Use 2021 to reorganise their curriculum.
  • For Grade 12 (matrics) wanting to go to university, the universities must accept them based on their preliminary acceptance results from Grade 11.
  • Universities and schools must sit together to plan a bridging curriculum for these progressed matrics.

However, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education Elijah Mhlanga does not think that kind of a decision should be made just yet.

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According to Mhlanga, that thought had not even occurred to the Minister of Education while it is also not the first time the Education system has faced such disruptions.

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