Let’s get back into school and #BackonTrack!
Statement by Minister David Maynier, Minister of Education Western Cape
As a result of the SANTACO-WC minibus taxi strike, learner and teacher absenteeism dealt a devastating blow to education and our efforts to recover learning losses because of COVID-19.
While we are delighted that the strike has been suspended, the effects of it are unfortunately still being felt by our schools today, with 739 569 learners and 5533 teachers absent today.
We appeal to parents to please send their children to school on Monday. All schools are open today and we are ready to welcome them. We need to catch up on the curriculum and prepare appropriately for assessments and examinations.
A full week of teaching and learning has been lost in the Western Cape for many learners. At the height of the strike, 852 259 learners stayed at home from school, which is 71% of the learners in our schools.
#BackonTrack programmes were also disrupted. This past weekend, tutoring programmes catering for over 14 000 learners had to be cancelled because of the minibus taxi strike.
The #BackonTrack programme is aimed at providing extra lessons to learners to recover the learning losses experienced as a result of the pandemic. The closure of schools, and the subsequent phased approach to the school timetable, resulted in a decline in learner performance across many grades. The Western Cape has therefore invested R1.3 billion over a three-year period to improve results. Following the disruption this week, this has taken us one step backwards – and sadly, it is the learner that suffers as a result.
But we will not remain defeated. It will strengthen our resolve and commitment to support our schools and drive our recovery programme even harder.
This kind of commitment and dedication was evident this week, with thousands of educators showing real concern and anguish for their learners over the loss of teaching and learning time. Matric teachers were especially concerned about their learners, as Grade 12’s only have 80 days left until their National Senior Certificate examinations. Every day counts at this stage!
I know that many educators and staff members went the extra mile to step in for colleagues who were not able to get to school. Thank you.
It once again shows that we are a team in the Western Cape Education Department who are all driven by our vision for quality education for every child, in every classroom, in every school in the Province!