The Department of Basic Education says it is concerned that schools will struggle to fill the positions of the more than 1 600 teachers that have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications so far.
It says this will affect the 2021 academic year which is scheduled to start on January 27.
The department’s Director-General Mathanzima Mweli says it will be difficult to replace men and women who had acquired experience over many years.
“Replacing teachers is something that we are going to struggle to get right. Getting appropriately qualified teachers, we’ll definitely do that. But getting experienced teachers who have been in the field for many years as the men and women who have tragically passed on, is something that we are going to acquire over a number of years,” explains Mweli.
— Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga) December 29, 2020
Five days ago I got information that 14 teachers had passed away within 24 hours, yesterday 18 teachers reported to have died also from COVID-19, 32 teachers in less than a week all gone, from a single province that’s reporting. The grieving over these holidays is too much.
— Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga) December 28, 2020
Meanwhile, South Africa’s 2020 academic calendar was revised at least twice to accommodate the changes that have been brought by the impact of the coronavirus.
It wrapped up on December 15, a first in the history of democratic South Africa, and is due to resume on January 25, 2021.
Announcing the news in October, Education Minister Angie Motshekga said with much of the school year obliterated by the COVID-19 pandemic, schools will have to carry over some of the curriculum work into 2021.
She also expressed concern about the impact on long-term learning and the potential increase of inequality in learning outcomes.
This situation, she said, makes it more urgent than before to provide sufficient support to teachers.
“All teachers know that catching up lost learning, or learning recovery is not an easy, quick activity but requires a lot of dedicated time.
“This will include a concerted effort by both parents and teachers and will need to extend into the 2021 academic year. To allow for this, we have revised the annual teaching plans to extend to next year,” said the Minister.
Minister Angie Motshekga briefs media on the state of readiness for schools in 2021
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