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Monday, December 6, 2021

Few hiccups as Cape learners return to school

SISONKE MLAMLA|

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said it was pleased with the start of the third school term on Monday, with schools operating as per their temporary revised education plans.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said all primary school learners (Grades R to 7) and special school learners (Grades R to 12) would return to the daily attendance and traditional timetabling model next Monday.

School management teams and support staff returned last Thursday to prepare for the return of learners and teachers.

Hammond said the WCED was also collating the reports from schools which experienced burglary and vandalism during the school holidays.

READ: Anxiety and fear as learners return to school in Phoenix

“Unfortunately, a number of reports have been received thus far. Further information will be released later this week,” she said.

She said the department was deeply saddened by the report of a death of a security guard allegedly attacked at a metro central school after confronting alleged vandals on Sunday night.

Hammond said the matter was reported to the police and an investigation was under way.

She said schools that were unable to safely return to a traditional timetabling model had to inform the head of department in writing by July 23, of the reasons why.

“Schools that have applied will be notified of the outcome of their application during the course of this week, and that one-metre rule, as contained in the Department of Basic Education Standard Operating Procedures, still remains the main reason for the inability to return safely at full capacity.”

SA Democratic Teachers Union spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said the union was still waiting for reports from the provinces on how the first day of school in the new term was.

Congress of SA Students acting provincial chairperson Zandile Matyeni said they were aware that many learners did not go to school yesterday because of a fear of what might happen to them on the roads or not having transport at all, as many were depending on minibus taxis and scholar transport and non of those were available in some townships.

READ: School dropout rate increased drastically during lockdown

Zero Dropout Campaign programme director Merle Mansfield said it was imperative that schools ramp up their reintegration programmes by tracking absent learners to ascertain why they have not returned to school, and to ensure disengaged learners get the right type of support.

“To get our learners back to class, we need schools and households to work together, each recognising their joint responsibility in supporting learners to stay in school,” said Mansfield.

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