‘No dis­rup­tions’ as Grade 12s re­turn to class­room

Pro­vin­cial de­part­ment says fur­ther anal­y­sis of at­ten­dance fig­ures will be be un­der­taken

Cape Argus - - METRO - SISONKE MLAMLA sisonke.mlamla@inl.co.za

THE West­ern Cape Education De­part­ment (WCED) de­scribed the re­turn to class of Grade 12 pupils yes­ter­day as an over­all suc­cess, de­spite the chaos and con­fu­sion ahead of the gazetting of the new 2020 school cal­en­dar.

Spokesper­son Bron­agh Ham­mond said no dis­rup­tions had been re­ported and “fur­ther anal­y­sis of at­ten­dance fig­ures will be done”.

Ham­mond said the de­part­ment has asked schools to en­sure that Grade 12 pupils at­tended school ev­ery day so that the days re­main­ing be­fore their Na­tional Se­nior Cer­tifi­cate ex­ams were utilised fully.

“Our Grade 12s need en­cour­age­ment and mo­ti­va­tion and safe spa­ces for re­vi­sion and learn­ing,” she said.

“We are es­pe­cially pro­tec­tive over en­sur­ing that our Grade 12s get full tu­ition and sup­port and ask that com­mu­ni­ties help us to en­sure that their schools are not dis­rupted.”

Kwanda Chonco, a teacher at Inkwenkwez­i High School in Dunoon, said it was im­por­tant for him to be at school, “es­pe­cially in en­sur­ing that Grade 12 pupils’ fu­ture plans are not dis­rupted”.

Education MEC Deb­bie Schäfer said the De­part­ment of Ba­sic Education (DBE) had gazetted in­struc­tions out­lin­ing the phas­ing in of grades over the next month.

Schäfer said af­ter Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa made a se­ries of an­nounce­ments re­gard­ing schools in his ad­dress to the na­tion, over a week ago, an ab­sence of leg­is­la­tion had left pro­vin­cial de­part­ments, schools, staff and pupils un­cer­tain as to how to pro­ceed.

“While the DBE re­leased a new school cal­en­dar on Satur­day, this was not gazetted and was un­for­tu­nately silent on the phas­ing in of grades this month,” she said.

Schäfer said that had put schools in the dif­fi­cult po­si­tion of not know­ing whether to fol­low the new cal­en­dar, or the pres­i­dent’s speech – nei­ther of which had any le­gal ef­fect with­out gazetted directions.

ANC deputy chief whip in the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture and education spokesper­son Khalid Sayed said they hoped the break was utilised by schools and that the WCED had im­proved on health and safety mea­sures. “As the ANC we will closely mon­i­tor that schools were topped up with suf­fi­cient per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and sani­tisers, and that mech­a­nisms are in place to en­sure that Covid-19 cases at schools are han­dled more con­sis­tently, with cau­tion and with a quicker turn­around time,” Sayed said.

Schäfer said it was note­wor­thy that de­spite Ramaphosa an­nounc­ing that the school year would be ex­tended to 2021, “this is not the case in the new school cal­en­dar. Ac­cord­ing to the new cal­en­dar, schools will close on De­cem­ber 15”.

“Another change that must be noted is that Grade 7s will re­turn on Au­gust 11, not the 12th. Any staff mem­bers that have not been re­quired to re­turn with the grade 12s and 7s must re­turn to school on Au­gust 17,” she said.

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