Three-year recovery plan for South Africa’s schools – what you need to know

 ·17 Dec 2020

The 2021 academic year will start on 25 January for teachers and 27 January for learners with a three-year curriculum recovery plan to make up for lost time due to Covid-19.

“As part of the 3-year curriculum recovery plan, from 2021, we will be implementing the recovery annual teaching plans (ATP) in all Grades, R -12.

“The basis of the recovery ATPs, is the trimmed curriculum; but now includes the learning losses to be recovered in each grade, based on the learning losses in the previous grade,” said Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga.

The minister detailed plans for the 2021 academic year during a briefing on Thursday on the state of readiness for schools in the context of Covid-19, as well as matters affecting the basic education sector.

The start of the Covid-19 pandemic led to lost learning time as schools shutdown and ultimately reopened with several changes to the schooling environment, which included social distancing protocols, the rotational attendance and the intermittent closure of schools due to increased localised infections.

To mitigate the impact of lost time, the recovery process will occur over a three-year period, straddling 2021 to 2023, to gradually recover the learning losses, while building on foundational content required for the next grade.

The multi-year recovery plan also ensures that the impact of further learning losses are minimised.

“The recovery ATPs, focus mainly on the core and fundamental content knowledge, skills, attitudes and values required in each grade and subject, to ensure deep learning and content mastery as opposed to superficial learning,” said the minister.

Teacher assistant help in recovery plan

To assist in the recovery plan, the basic education sector will receive 300,000 young employees in schools.

This is part of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme to create 200,000 employment opportunities for Education Assistants, and 100,000 for General School Assistants. This will be accomplished through the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI).

The BEEI seeks to address Covid-19 academic disruption, as well as address some of the lingering systemic challenges. Education Assistants will support teachers in the classroom, and provide extra support to learners.

General School Assistants will help schools to comply with Covid-19 protocols, while ensuring that teaching and learning take place in a safe, secure and hygienic environment.

The 300,000 employment opportunities were targeted at young people to strengthen capacity in schools at least until the end of March 2021.

“More than 65% of the recruits have been captured and the month of December and January will be used for training and induction. They will work in areas that include ICTs, reading, mathematics, robotics and coding,” the minster said.

Read: Changes for South Africa’s schools – what you need to know

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