The Director-General’s annual Provincial Engagement with education stakeholders in the first quarter of each academic year ended on a high note this week, with commitment towards improving the performance of learners across all grades in the system. The provincial engagements were hosted virtually by the Director-General for the Department of Basic Education, Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, from 08 to 31 March 2021.
During the final engagement with the Free State province on 30 March 2021, the Chief Director for Curriculum, Dr Moses Simelane, tabled the Three-year Curriculum Recovery Plan (2021-2023), which serves to guide the sector in addressing the learning losses due to COVID-19 and the persisting sub-optimum contact time with learners. “We have to develop long-term sustainable plans/policies to address the identified gaps. In response to the Vision 2024, we have to consider a conceptualised Curriculum Strengthening process that encompasses competencies required for the changing world. The DBE and the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) will also be required to consider a developed, revised and strengthened Curriculum Policy Statements with dedicated focus on Assessment for Learning. Henceforth, an Assessment for Learning pedagogical strategy and Educator Mediation Programme will also be required,” explained the Chief Director. Furthermore, Dr Simelane said that to achieve the Three-year Curriculum Recovery Plan, the sector will have to use the 2020 Curriculum Recovery Framework as the base document.
To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the resultant learning losses, various key levers ought to be used. These include alternative time tabling models to ensure compliance to COVID-19 protocols; the adjustment of the curriculum in order to manage loss of teaching time; the focus on the fundamentals in managing curriculum coverage; the management of home learning and distance learning; and an enhanced ICT integrated, digital teacher development programme. During the engagement, delegates were cautioned to remain vigilant and continue to implement the COVID-19 protocols to prevent the resurgence in school communities.
DG Mweli said that the engagement is one of the most critical programmes aimed at promoting uniformity in the Basic Education Sector. “I therefore encourage all officials to embrace best practices that were shared during the engagement to address the identifiable learning gaps in the schooling system.” Mr Mweli further thanked the PEDs for their sterling work in sustaining learner support programmes including autumn, winter and spring camps.