The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), together with the department of education and other partners, have developed a programme to reboot the school system in 2022 after losses incurred over the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Research conducted by the NECT, which is due for publication in January 2022, shows that 60% of South African schools were only able to cover 30% of the written work in 2021, while a majority of learners in the foundation phase struggled to complete half of the exercises in the recommended mathematics work books. This was further compounded by a backlog caused by disruptions in 2020.
Because of the pandemic, the education curriculum had to be trimmed and learners had to attend school on a rotational basis.
According to the NECT, the programme aims to improve school functionality and recover the time and learning lost as a result of the pandemic with the involvement of parents, stakeholders and civil society to help teachers.
Some of the plans that have already been put in place since November include the delivery of materials and training on managing learning recovery to 900 circuit managers who support approximately 15 180 schools.
About 22 000 reading champions are also being recruited to support the same number of teachers as well as eight million learners, as part of the presidential youth employment initiative. More than 16 000 of these reading champions have already been trained by the NECT and a network of 10 non-governmental organisations.
Curriculum trackers have also been developed for teachers and principals to assist schools and have been supplied to 800 subject advisors, 40 000 school management teams and 200 000 educators who teach grades one to nine in languages, mathematics and science.
Some 10 500 of the poorest primary schools, which account for about 60% of the South African schooling system, and 270 teacher union leaders will be supplied with structured learning programme packs.
In addition to getting parents involved in supporting learners, the NECT is also encouraging those aged between 12 and 17 years to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to try and get infections down and restore normal teaching and learning times in 2022.