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Education department to review physical distancing measures at schools

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Angie Motshekga says they are looking at alternative measures to give pupils the best chance at attending school amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

File image. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says more changes are planned to give pupils the best chance at attending school amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to the loss of teaching time, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has cut some parts of the 2020 curriculum, and schools from across the country have adopted a rotation system where pupils go to school on certain days of the week to allow for physical distancing.

The National Teachers Union added that this system has compromised the quality of education and the quality of learners who will be produced for the next grade.

“We are looking at other measures. Other big schools, for instance, are using body screens not distancing because physical distancing is very expensive for us because it means we have to cut classes in half.

“At a school in KwaZulu Natal, they are using screens. It is the same class of 35 and they are using screens. You just manage the movement of pupils, which means they are able to have a normal timetable, which is our biggest challenge now,” she said.

For the remainder of the 2020 curriculum that was trimmed, this will be carried over into 2021 and parts of the 2021 curriculum that remain incomplete will be covered in subsequent grades as part of a three-year programme.

Meanwhile, the matric class of 2020 started their final exams this week, which cover the full curriculum, as they are writing a paper that was set two years ago.