SAHRC wants rotational classes at primary schools scrapped
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) wants rotational timetables at primary schools scrapped because of their “long-lasting negative impact on learning”.
The commission said on Monday it had written to the basic education, health, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs ministers, seeking an urgent meeting to discuss ending rotational lessons.
Large numbers of primary schools around the country are continuing rotational timetables and have also applied to continue doing so in 2022.
“The reason for the rotation is a directive of the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) providing that social distancing measures in primary schools should be maintained at one metre. Further, the commission has also been made aware that the vast majority of schools in the Western Cape (86%) have applied for rotational timetables for the 2022 academic year.
“The commission holds that rotational learning has a long-lasting negative impact on learning outcomes for children and, as the MAC’s [ministerial advice committee] advice states, that ‘the harms of learners attending school on a rotational basis — specifically the severe cognitive, nutritional, and psychosocial costs — exceed the benefits of reduced Covid-19 infections from smaller class sizes'.”
The Cogta minister needs to amend her directive by dropping the one-metre social distancing requirement in respect of primary schools, the commission said.
“The Cogta directive compromises the ability of primary schools, where the very foundation of learning takes place, to return to normal teaching and learning. The commission agrees with the MAC that ‘all primary schools should open at full capacity'.”
The commission also wants to discuss the return to normal schooling at high schools, considering the health department has started Covid-19 vaccinations for 12 year olds and upwards.