Third wave of Covid-19 infections or not, the department of basic education is resolute in considering opening all primary schools as research shows limited transmission at schools.
The Council of Education Ministers is expected to meet tomorrow to decide on shutting down sports activities which have contributed to the increase of infections in Gauteng schools.
A frustrated parent, Dominique van Staden, said her child’s marks dropped drastically in the first term, compared to last year due to continuous changes in timetables and rotational classes.
“Last year, he used to get 70s and 60s and this year he dropped to 30s and even got 18 for one subject,” Van Staden said.
“When I ask the teacher why, she said she didn’t really teach him because teachers kept changing every week. I think Covid-19 has made the teachers lazy and they just bombard the kids.”
Eight schools in the province reported confirmed infections, department of education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said.
He said schools were safer than being at home since the department found confirmed Covid-19 cases among pupils and teachers happened off school premises.
“All the research we have indicates the rising infection among teachers and [pupils] happened when the schools were closed.
“Teachers came back to school with the virus after staying home when schools closed.
“Schools are safer places because people must comply with protocols when they are there.
“We are still considering opening for all [pupils] in primary schools to go back,” he said.
While teachers might be fearful of catching the virus at work, the current rotational school system only regresses the pupils’ learning, with some not having adequate assistance at home.
A Johannesburg teacher who wished to remain anonymous said they were frustrated by the inability to complete the expected curriculum on time.
“At the moment there is no progress in terms – especially in primary school. The Grade 4s, for example – it’s as if they were never in Grade 3. We have to start teaching them all over again. They are more confused now. There are new subjects which they didn’t do last year.
“By now, we should have covered 25% of the work but we are only at 10%,” she said.