- An education expert has called for the academic year to be scrapped in the face of the coronavirus
- This has prompted numerous social media posts claiming that students in grades 1 to 11 will be pushed through to the next year
- Briefly.co.za explores the facts behind this claim in a bid to determine what the actual situation is
An education expert weighing in with his opinion on what should happen with the remainder of a fragile school year has prompted numerous false social media posts.
Jonathan Jansen suggested that the year be scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, commenting.
“One, scrap the academic school year; even a ‘trimmed down’ curriculum will soon be meaningless for the school system as a whole. Two, pass every pupil in grades 1-11 for organisational reasons (we need to enrol a new Grade 1 class and Grade 8 class without clogging up the system), educational reasons (we can only assess what has been taught and learnt) and equity reasons (we should assess on the basis of opportunity to learn, which was unequally distributed in the lockdown even more than is usually the case)."
A social media post claimed that this idea had been welcomed by the Department of Education.
"Learners From grade 1-11 will be promoted to the next grade and this academic year has been cancelled. Wow”.
However, spokesperson for the department, Elijah Mhlanga, is adamant that Jansen is off the mark with his review of the situation
“Jansen got it wrong . 2020 school year isn’t lost. We find that type of advice is premature, irresponsible, ill-conceived as well as misinformed because the school year can still get back on track. If you look at the number of school days that we were supposed to have in 2020, it’s 198 days .when schools were forced to close, we only had two days left in the first term."
With 13 million students in the system, Mhlanga highlighted that the current plan is to use a phased-in approach when it comes to reopening schools.
Briefly.co.za reported that the Department of Education had released a tentative plan to see the following grades return in small groups on different dates-
- Grades 12 and 7 on May 6
- Grades 11 and 6 on May 20
- Grades 10 and 5 on June 3
- Grades 9 and 4 on June 17
- Grades 8 and 3 on July 1
- Grades 2 and 1 on July 8
- Grade R on July 15