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EDITORIAL | A teacher in every classroom, is that too much to ...


EDITORIAL | A teacher in every classroom, is that too much to ask for?

Budget cuts have left pupils short-changed and made it impossible for education standards to be maintained


SA’s pupils, like their counterparts internationally, have suffered huge learning losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has led to the largest disruption of education ever, according to Prof Martin Gustafsson, an adviser to the department of basic education.

He told a media briefing last month that the country faced a generational catastrophe “that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress and worsen entrenched inequalities”. Between the start of the pandemic in March last year and July 15 this year, 78% of the national school year had been lost. First-time intake in grades R and one in January had dropped and there were 10,000 fewer pupils aged seven to14 compared to the previous year. Basic education minister Angie Motshekga is also on record as saying: “If you lose a year, it’s really like losing your fingers in the process.”

Learning losses have been incurred largely because of the one-metre social distancing requirement in the classroom, which has prevented the majority of pupils from returning to class on a daily basis. Those largely affected are attending no-fee schools (quintile 1-3) that are based mainly in the townships and rural areas...

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