The Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, has called on the Basic Education Department to attend to Grade 12 learners affected by floods in KwaZulu-Natal and to ensure that teaching and learning time is not compromised.
Committee Chairperson, Elleck Nchabeleng said that a clear provincial plan has to be drafted, adopted and approved by the Department of Basic Education so that the gross impact of floods is mitigated when it comes to the mid-year examinations.
“The Class of 2022 should be able to apply for tertiary placements and the mid-year examinations are a barometer by which many institutions based their admissions criteria.
“They have to attend to this as it threatens to have a long term impact on the future of the affected learners beyond the contact time they will miss,” Nchabeleng said in a statement.
KwaZulu-Natal has been affected by severe flooding which resulted in massive displacements, including the demolition of schools.
Nchabeleng also noted that this year’s Grade 12 class had already been severely affected by two years of inconsistent contact teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He said the committee is concerned that prolonged disruption of class time posed potential learning gaps.
While acknowledging that focus is correctly placed on infrastructure damage and the immediate needs of the affected communities, Nchabeleng emphasised that it should not shade the focus on the future and educational needs of the children.
“Virtual learning should supplement class time and if placement of the affected Grade 12 learners at other schools is necessary, that should be considered without delay.
“This disaster calls for pulling of resources even from the private sector and civil society in order to boost the initiatives of government. Every learner should be accounted for, and provided with the necessary support,” Nchabeleng said.
Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will on Tuesday and Wednesday lead the national department to assess the damage in affected districts in KwaZulu-Natal.
Addressing the nation on government’s response to the disastrous floods on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said it is estimated that over 270 000 learners have been affected and over 600 schools have been damaged.
Sixteen of the affected schools cannot be accessed due to damage to connecting roads and bridges.
It was reported that a a number of learners and at least one educator have died.
The committee has sent heartfelt condolences to all learners affected by floods.