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Efforts to save academic year

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown have disrupted learners in various ways, and their learning programmes for the academic year have been severely compromised.

Months at home robbed learners of the face-to-face support of their teachers and healthy habits formed at school.

“Learning gaps between children from poorer homes and those from more fortunate ones have undoubtedly increased as a result of this,” said Geoffrey van der Merwe, spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education.

To eradicate gaps, the department has developed matric intervention support programmes. Van der Merwe says these will include weekend lock-in sessions, Saturday classes and spring school.

“We hope that close to 8 000 Gr. 12 learners will benefit from these programmes before they sit for the 2020 National Senior Certificate examinations. The programmes will be district-specific, targeting high enrolment and problematic subjects,” Van der Merwe said.

The department has established 24 spring school centres and 25 school-based walk-in centres. These centres will be open from 23 October to 1 November in all districts. The teachers are experts in their fields and have been carefully selected by the department.

Focus of spring schools
  • intensely revising and consolidating problematic content;
  • strengthening answering techniques;
  • analysing structured questions;
  • improving learners’ ability to manage time effectively during assessment;
  • uplifting learners’ self-esteem and confidence; and
  • effecting level progression in performance.
Expected of learners
  • behaving in a disciplined manner;
  • showing respect for tutors, fellow-learners, supervisors and administrative staff;
  • being punctual;
  • obeying rules;
  • respecting property;
  • completing all take-home exercises;
  • engaging in class discussions; and
  • refraining from any substance use or abuse.
Expected of parents
  • ensuring that learners attend classes daily and are punctual;
  • ensuring that learners complete take-home exercises;
  • minimising household chores to afford learners the opportunity to complete take-home exercises; and
  • motivating learners.
Expected of teachers
  • being punctual;
  • being well prepared;
  • encouraging and mediating lively discussion;
  • adhering to the daily revision or tutoring plan;
  • being mindful of differentiation;
  • ensuring that learners complete all take-home exercises;
  • discussing the answers to all questions in tutorials;
  • enforcing discipline in class; and
  • refraining from discouraging learners through negative remarks.

“All our efforts are geared towards saving the academic year,” Van der Merwe has stated.

“We appeal to parents and learners to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

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