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Covid-19 necessitates a shift in focus for the Action Plan to 2024

The DBE recently released the Action Plan to 2024: Towards the realisation of Schooling 2030 which is closely aligned, amongst others, to Government’s National Development Plan, and which is the product of many months of technical work and consultation with key stakeholders.

The Covid-19 pandemic does not remove any of the priorities outlined in the Action Plan, but reshapes existing priorities. The overall goals of the Basic Education Sector remain the improvement of the quality of learning outcomes and the reduction of educational inequalities. The National School Nutrition Programme needs to be better prepared to ensure that food continues to be available to learners from poor households, even during school closures as good nutrition is the backbone of effective learning. Understanding pandemics and viruses needs to feature more strongly in the Life Orientation curriculum. If teachers and learners understand these topics, they are more likely to embrace the behavioural changes that pandemics necessitate. School infrastructure needs to support hygiene and the uninterrupted supply of water.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated school closures have brought to the fore the weakness of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in many schools, as well as digital content for learners and teachers. Learners, particularly those at the secondary level facing important national examinations, should become more accustomed to using online resources.

Basic Education Director-General, Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli explained that, “The Plan is being released at an exceptionally difficult time for South Africa and the world, as we struggle to grapple with the direct and indirect fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. As explained in the Plan, we have many enhancements in the pipeline, including the new Systemic Evaluation; the General Education Certificate in Grade 9; and the Three Stream Model. We may have to adjust the timing of these innovations, and how we take them forward, as a result of the pandemic. I am confident that we have the skills, motivation and vision to face these new challenges, so that the disruption in our progress is minimised”.

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