The Western Cape department of education says the continued rotational schooling system, introduced during lockdown levels, is negatively impacting children’s education.
Spokesperson Bronagh Hammond says it is affecting their abilities in language and maths, to read and write, with its detrimental consequences to be felt in years to come.
Inland schools reopen on Wednesday while coastal schools will welcome learners within a week. The Western Cape expects its more than a million learners to start their schooling year or return to class.
But the province is concerned about continuing with the rotation system, saying it robs learners of proper tuition.
Hammond says, “Currently about 90% of our primary schools are on rotation so it’s only 10% that are going back full time. So it really is devastating for the education sector and obviously we need advice from the department of education to make our schools safer, but we cannot continue 2022 on rotation.”
Some learners yet to be placed
With just a week before schools reopen, 575 Grade One learners still need to be placed. Just over 3 000 Grade Eight learners are faced with the same predicament.
Hammond says the province received over 32 000 late applications, with more expected in the coming days. “It really makes planning difficult and we were expecting late applications coming in the next week. We’re just asking parents to be patient because of their late applications, we need to make these spaces available somehow and we weren’t able to plan for it.”
She says they will put more focus on language and mathematics as well as psycho-social support this year, given the trauma, fear and difficult time teachers and learners experienced.
“All our mindset of while communities within the Western Cape needs to be on these children who desperately need all of us to stand together to assist them because of the learning losses over the last two years.”
The Department says it had reached 87% of its targets to vaccinate education staff in the province.