Saving this academic year means saving the whole generation – Motshekga | Citypress

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga believes saving this academic year means saving a whole generation.

2020-08-13 09:02:00 PM

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga believes saving this academic year means saving a whole generation.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga believes saving this academic year means saving a whole generation.

Motshekga said if this year was not saved, the generation of pupils would be disadvantaged compared to those before them.She said it was critical for the country to do something radical because experts have warned that the Covid-19 coronavirus impact would last for almost a decade.

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“We’re not saving this year’s class but the whole generation ... As South Africans, we are a resilient nation. Let’s work together to ensure we succeed,”Motshekga said.About schoolsFollowing the return of Grade 7s to school this week and other grades set to follow on August 24, Motshekga said this phasing-in could take for instance three days in between for orientation, among other things.

Motshekga said other grades, except for Grade 12s, would take turns coming to school because only 50 people were allowed to gather under Covid-19 regulations.Read |Angie Motshekga responds to criticism: I have not lost touch with realityThe other options for provincial departments included rotating classes and platooning pupils (with some coming in the morning or later in the day). Motshekga said this was done to meet the social distancing regulations.

She said her department was not only responsible for millions of pupils in public schools but also those in the private sector.Motshekga said they were confident that by the exams period, time lost due to Covid-19 would have been recovered. Her department this week released the combined June and December matric exams calendar. More than 1.1 million pupils are scheduled to sit for these exams.

The public-private partnershipsMotshekga said the National Development Plan, government’s blueprint setting out its vision, requires her department to achieve a target of 450 000 pupils competent in maths and science.These pupils should enter universities ready for bachelor degree programmes.

This, Motshekga said, would not be achieved by government alone, hence partnering with the private sector was required.Such partnerships, including with the likes of Primestars, have contributed to the sector.For instance, Motshekga said the partnership with Primestars started in 2010 and about 300 000 pupils in 1 000 schools had benefitted from different programmes. These include entrepreneurship, career guidance, maths and science.

During the webinar, other private companies pledged to continue working with Motshekga’s department and contribute to the development of pupils in schools.Read |Independent schools will not close as they take a ‘differentiated approach’Primestars managing director Martin Sweet said he believed that schools should be reopened. He said the closure of schools had hit children in poor households the hardest.

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Sweet said their programmes such as entrepreneurship, which the department was considering to reintroduce in schools as part of the curriculum, had helped pupils to be creative entrepreneurs who could create jobs in the future.Already, he said about 700 “little companies” were created in schools last year. He said some of the pupils would be incubated in companies and also receive bursaries.

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