Motshekga concerned about high absenteeism at schools, Newsline

Johannesburg – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed concern that many learners have not returned to schools despite the resumption of learning with the department being unable to account for their whereabouts.

Motshekga on Thursday gave an update on the latest development within the schooling sector including plans for the upcoming matric examination, which are set to start from November 5.

She expressed alarm that learners in the lower grades remained at large with no information on why they had failed to go back to school.

“We have requested our schools to follow up because one is one too many,” she said.

Motshekga said departments had been visiting schools since their reopening and that between 10% and 20% of learners have not been attending.

She called on parents to work with the schools in ensuring a full return to school.

Motshekga highlighted that while it had been difficult for the sector during the pandemic, efforts had been put in place to ensure that the Covid-19 did not disrupt learning due to infections again.

“Currently we hardly see any schools being closed and reopened as we did before and this can be attributed to the adherence to the revised standard operations but also the national decline in Covid-19 cases,” Motshekga said.

She said schools had to continue to implement the rotational system by either implementing staggered days of attendance or platooning despite these having made it difficult to run schools during the pandemic.

“Safety remains our top priority because the virus remains very much with us.”

Motshekga remarked that the staggered learning approach was creating delinquency among learners as there were designated days when they were not going to school.

“This again increases the risk of them losing interest and forgetting critical curriculum topics already covered at school,” Motshekga said.

On matric learners, Motshekga said they had been at school since the first week of June and only took a brief break in July during the Covid-19 surge in infections.

“All provinces have put in place a whole range of measures to support our learners. This includes Saturday and Sunday classes. The extra tuition opportunity has been of great benefit to the learners and the teachers,” she said.

Political Bureau