OPINION:Is the inconsistent academic calendar a new norm in the South African Education System?

Article by: By Refiloe Sekobotsane (Journalist)

The desperation in pursuit for education amongst South Africa students and learners has once again been put on hold. The transposing of the academic calendar is becoming a new norm, not only in South Africa but across the word as nations battle the Corona Virus.

While some educators welcomed this transposition enforced by The Department of Basic Education and of Higher Education, the teaching passion for other educators is gradually fading away. There is an enormous pressure weighed on both educators and learners during the syllabus recap, as a month of missing lessons is excessive.

However, eyes are glued on the newly Educators Assistance Program, established as part of the President Employment motive to assess if it will be effective to disburden the anticipated workload educators will be facing this year.

Decisions taken by the government and Coronavirus Command Council are a force of circumstances and have a major impact on the country’s education system. It has become common for South Africans to dwell on whether the government will succeed when ensuring safety in schools, as many are concerned about the safety of learners and educators.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine is also being questioned, as it is yet to be seen how it will cover the education sector. How learners will cope as they are forced to adapt to frequent changes within the education system remains a big question. Higher Education Institutions are also playing ball in adjusting their curriculum. The University of South Africa (UNISA) has introduced some changes, shifting its semester modules to yearly modules amid the covid-19 regulations.

The drastic changes made due to the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of school attendance in different areas. This comes after several discussions on the exposure of learners outside school premises, with many arguing that learners tend to be safe in classes adhering to COVID-19 regulations, as compared to finding them on the streets exposing themselves to the Virus.

Different phases of National Lockdown led to many companies retrenching their employees. This has brought an extra burden to different households as some students will now be forced to make means of finding income for their families.

According to Stats SA, about 24, 8% of Grade 11 pupils dropped out of school in 2018, while the dropout rate for undergraduates was 18, 4% in 2014. While these learners and students dropped out during the time when there was no pandemic, one can wonder what will be the outcome within the education sector post COVID-19.

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