Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga gave a media briefing on Monday 28 June following President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday 27 June 2021
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM ) met on 28 June 2021 and unanimously agreed that:
- Learners in public and independent or private schools should be released for winter vacation on Wednesday, 30 June 2021;
- The School Management Teams (SMTs), teachers, learners in hostel facilities, and learners with special education needs waiting for parents to pick them up, should report at school until Friday, 02 July 2021;
- Public schools will come back from the winter vacation early, on 19 July 2021, instead of 26 July 2021; as it was originally scheduled in the 2021 School Calendar;
- Schools will make the necessary arrangements to continue to provide feeding to those learners who are beneficiaries of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP);
- The usual Winter Vacation Learner Support Programme for Grades 11 and 12, organised by provinces, districts and schools, should continue under very strict conditions in compliance with the COVID-19 health and safety protocols;
- Given the fact that learners writing the May/June 2021 examinations are very few, these examinations and marking thereof, should also continue under strict adherence of COVID-19 health and safety protocols; and
- The vaccination programme for the Basic Education Sector personnel, will proceed as planned; the workers are advised to adhere to their schedules, and strictly adhere to COVID-19 protocols, as stipulated in the Regulations. Schools designated as vaccination sites, must remain open to continue with the vaccination programme.
The Sector stakeholders consulted includes CEM itself; HEDCOM; national teacher unions in the ELRC – including SADTU, NAPTOSA, NATU and PEU; representatives of national SGB associations; representatives of national associations for learners with special education needs, as well as the NAISA and other Associations for Independent or Private Schools. Further discussions with stakeholders would take place this afternoon, Motshekga said.
“The Sector will remain vigilant in monitoring the developments of the epidemiology, working closely with the Ministry of Health, to inform the implementation of the Risk Adjusted Differentiated Strategy, when there is a need to do so, including the earlier pronounced full attendance of primary school learners from the first day of the third school term,” Motshekga said.
Vaccination of staff
More than 200 000 educators and staff in the Basic Education Sector had been vaccinated so far, Motshekga said and the Sector had a target of 582 564 personnel who were eligible to receive the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The Department of Health has assured us that additional doses will be made available in parts of the country, where the allocations have already been depleted as a result of the progress of the programme,” Motshekga said.
On learner support programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic
In light of the disruptions to schooling brought on by COVID and the move to the Risk Adjusted Level 4, the Sector had with immediate effect activated the remote learner support programmes, Motshekga said.
The WOZA Matrics 2021 Catch-Up Programme and the Tswelopele Campaigns are initiatives established by the DBE, in collaboration with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT).
“These are national supplementary remote learning campaigns, developed to support 2021 matric learners and learners in the General Education & Training Band (GET) from Grades R to 9; with supplementary support content, that will enable learners to catch-up on learning losses; and enable them to enhance, acquire and develop crucial knowledge, skills, attitudes and values during the academic year,” Motshekga said. “The campaigns provide digital and non-digital learning resources in partnership with a range of content providers through the DBE-TV on Open-View Channel 122, SABC 1 and DSTV Catch-Up, YouTube channels, as well as digital and mobile chat platforms.”
A detailed list of the resources is available on the DBE website.
“We implore parents, guardians and caregivers to ensure that during the recess, children continue to learn, using the available resources. Doing so, will protect the gains that have already been achieved. We also encourage our learners to remain safe. Do not gather in crowds. Apply hygiene practices at all times, and avoid activities that may expose learner to infections.”