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No major challenges as Grade 12 pupils return to school in Northern Cape

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According to the Department of Education, the break was necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19.

File image. Picture: Mujahid Safodien 18 03 2012

NO major challenges were reported by the Northern Cape Department of Education as Grade 12 pupils in the province returned to school after the week-long Covid-19 break.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a forced four-week break for all pupils except Grade 12s, who had a one-week break as Covid-19 infections spiked at schools.

Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said more than 112 schools in the province had been affected by the pandemic.

“The four-week school break was necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 during a time when our country is nearing the peak of the infections.

“The education sector in particular will be affected by the loss of valuable learning and teaching time due to school closures as positive cases are reported.

“To date, 112 schools in the province have been affected. However, we continue to follow strict protocols in order to comply with the National Covid-19 regulations and guidelines,” Van der Merwe said.

He added the department was implementing measures to assist Grade 12 pupils with their studies.

“All our efforts are geared towards saving the academic year without compromising the lives of our teachers and pupils.

“We have developed learner support packages for all pupils in all grades, which will soon be distributed to schools.

“We are also busy preparing to incubate at least 3 000 Grade 12s for a period of three months at different venues across the Province.

“All the safety precautionary measures will be taken in this regard.

“We plan to start the programme with 1 300 pupils and then gradually phase in the remaining pupils.

“These camps will function as normal schools where teaching, learning and assessments will be prioritised. This will ensure that our Grade 12 pupils will be ready for the 2020 National Senior Certificate Examinations,” he said.

Van der Merwe added the department was still waiting for feedback from the districts as to whether all pupils and teachers were present on the first day.

“We will, however, only be able to elaborate on the rate of attendance of pupils and teachers once we receive the comprehensive reports from our district offices.

“We also wish to thank all schooling communities who have contributed significantly towards the protection of the assets of our schools.

“During the past week only two incidents were reported where schools were broken into. We have reported these incidents to the South African Police Service so that perpetrators can be brought to book and face the full might of the law,” Van der Merwe said.