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EDITORIAL | Overcrowded schools were a problem pre-Covid. They ...

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EDITORIAL | Overcrowded schools were a problem pre-Covid. They still need to be fixed

The vaccination of pupils is also key if schooling is to get back to ‘normal’

Editorial

All schools are returning to everyday classes on Monday, a long overdue move that should go some way to help pupils catch up on lost school hours. Basic education minister Angie Motshekga on Sunday said the department was well aware of certain schools still battling with infrastructure but that it was a problem from before Covid-19.

It is unfortunate that the problems that plagued poorer schools before Covid-19 have now been amplified. Rotational learning was put in place when the Covid-19 pandemic started, specifically for schools that were not able to adhere to social distancing. Overcrowding remains a “common concern, identified as one needing special attention”, said Motshekga. An overcrowded classroom remains a huge risk when it comes to the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 virus. Expressing concern about it will not solve the problem.

Teacher union Naptosa’s Basi Manuel was quoted saying on Sunday: “We want to see that it hasn’t been a waste of two years of talking about overcrowding and the impact. This [rotational learning] was created because of schools that are overcrowded.” Motshekga said in her briefing on Sunday that in some provinces, mobile classrooms and additional teachers had been secured to try to alleviate the overcrowding problem. This is good news but will only make a real impact if these measures are applied consistently at all affected schools...

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