NATIONAL NEWS - Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department was looking into alternative ways for effective learning while incorporating social distancing in classrooms.
The department said rotational learning was ineffective with lower grade teachers reporting that children forgot their school work.
Mhlanga said the system where learners have been going to school once or twice a week has proven in some schools ineffective with some learners losing a lot of learning time.
“Teachers are frustrated over the new system as they try the best they can to keep all learners updated with their school work but report
that the system is not effective as some learners do not get help at home.
“Teachers in lower grades report that the little ones come back to school having forgotten what they previously learnt.”
Mhlanga said although the system was created to eliminate chances of spreading the virus it needed to be re-looked to try and ensure effective learning.
He said the department was looking into creative ways such as using transparent cubicles to protect learners while eliminating chances of the virus transmission.
“We have seen several schools engaging different ways to try to be in the classrooms and remain safe and that’s the area we are looking into.”
Mhlanga, however, stressed that there was not a single way to implement effective learning for all schools.
He said schools with halls and spaces were allowing more learners in school using the spaces that allowed social distancing.
“It is the first time dealing with this pandemic so issues would be expected. Everyone is trying the best they can to protect their health and also educate the children at the same time.”
Pretoria-based Glenstantia Primary School principal Hennie Pretorius said the school was doing its best to provide effective learning under difficult circumstances but faced some challenges with the new system.
“Our teachers are providing learners and parents with work and links for lessons but the children are not doing this while they are at home,” Pretorius said.
“Parents are also working and do not have time to assist and supervise their children on the day that they do not attend school.
“We lose time by not being able to move forward and with not all learners being on the same page or up to date when they return to school,’’ he said.
Pretorius said that they saw very supportive parents who were working with their children.
“We are giving support to learners who struggle as well as additional opportunities for learning.’’
National Teacher Union president Alan Thompson said teachers felt they were in a corner getting pressure from parents as some learners were not coping with rotational learning.
“The system has been devastating for many learners. You will find that some only go to school twice in two weeks and when they go back they just forget everything.
“Many parents are expecting their children to move to other grades the following year, disregarding their performance. This is a problem for the teachers.’’
Thompson said expanding infrastructure at schools would be one of the ways to enable effective learning while adhering to social distancing.
“The pandemic exposed the nature of our school infrastructure, seeing a lot of schools with not enough space, water and sanitation facilities and these must be addressed by the department.’’