Schools expect few student withdrawals during lockdown

South Africans schools are confident they will retain most of their learners during the lockdown.

This is despite the Department of Education confirming that the opportunity is available for parents to withdraw their children from schools and implement home schooling.

One principal told MyBroadband they have only encountered a handful of cases where parents are considering keeping their children at home.

These scenarios were due to comorbidities – either relating to the child or those living with them. The principal said they did not envision many parents removing their children from their school.

“It has become clear to many parents and children that it is difficult to study from home in the current situation,” the principal said.

“I believe many learners are looking forward to returning to school.”

They added that the matric learners who are set to return on 1 June are aware of the importance of their final year at school and are therefore eager to resume their studies.

One area of concern the principal highlighted is the reopening of hostels.

“Given the nature of hostel life, it is more likely that parents will be hesitant to return their hostel-living children to their hostels.”

Curro to assist parents

Independent education provider Curro acknowledged that the current situation has presented challenges to the education industry, but remains optimistic when it comes to learner retention.

“We’ve looked at opportunities to help retain our learners as far as possible, such as setting up a COVID-19 Care Fund,” Curro told MyBroadband.

The fund is worth R50 million, Curro said, and will assist parents who are struggling to pay their school fees.

“Curro understands the crippling economic implications that the coronavirus has brought about, and the effect that it has had on several families’ financial situations,” it said.

All Curro parents will qualify for some relief in June 2020, the independent education provider confirmed.

“Curro would like to assure that it is committed to providing all of its learners with a full year’s schooling.”

Curro said it will also launch an “exciting online education solution” for its learners.

“Curro assures that the safety and well-being of its learners, staff, and parent community remains its utmost priority,” it said.

Keeping your child at home – What you need to know

According to the South African Schools Act (SASA), parents are obligated to send their children to school in the year in which their child turns seven, until the end of the year in which the learner turns 15, or completes Grade 9 – whichever comes first.

However, it is possible for parents to remove children who are of school-going age from their current school and implement homeschooling.

The South African Teachers’ Union (SAOU) explained in a document that parents who wish to exercise this opportunity for the rest of 2020 must take into account the following:

  • Obtain permission from the provincial education department.
  • Consideration may be given to registering the learner for homeschooling with a registered curriculum provider.
  • Non-registration with a curriculum provider means that the child will have no proof of the year’s learning.
  • Any public school will have the right to determine the standard of homeschooling.

When wanting to return to their child to their former school at a later date, parents must know the following:

  • The learner is considered a new applicant.
  • The school can conduct a “placement assessment” to determine the child’s knowledge and skills.
  • The child will not necessarily be promoted to the next grade with his or her age group, unless there is a formal certification to show that the content has been mastered.

Now read: Gauteng wants to recruit unemployed people to screen school kids

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Schools expect few student withdrawals during lockdown