Cape Town - With over 1.1 million pupils set to head back to class, the repercussions of the rotational plan and the number of unplaced pupils continue to shed light on the effects it will have on the pupils’ learning ability and academic year.
Following Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s announcement on the state of readiness for the opening of schools in the 2022 school year, Motshekga mentioned that the department was aware of the matter and would continue to work with provinces to ensure they place all unplaced pupils as a matter of urgency.
However, with the latest figures indicating that there are various pupils still waiting to be placed, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) would not stop making progress to ensure every pupil was attended to.
“The WCED has made great progress in placing learners that applied for the 2022 school year in 2021. Despite over 32 000 late applications, the latest figures indicate that we have 451 Grade 1 and 2 450 Grade 8 learners that have still to be placed. The districts are working hard to ensure their placement as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, most learners will continue to attend school on a rotational basis, costing our learners further precious time in class despite recommendations from experts that schools return to full attendance,” said Schäfer.
Given the psychological effect the pandemic had on pupils, neuropsychologist Dr Arlene Adams said that pupils under this rotational plan were at greater risk of losing their critical learning periods.
“Compared to other countries, the South African Education outcomes rank very low in terms of maths and science. Having a rotation system whereby learners are not a full year in school will have adverse effects on our learners’ cognitive development, as they will miss out on critical learning times/periods for language maths and science acquisition.
“Many children are also dependent on school food schemes, and absenteeism leads to food insecurity and emotional health deterioration. Unfortunately, all these issues are also exacerbated by the poverty that many children face at home on a daily basis.
“Going forward, school-going parents and feeding schemes for impoverished learners should be made a priority. Schools should be transformed to make them learner friendly, and the government needs to invest in education, as it is the biggest economic booster,” said Adams.