matric learner

The Gauteng province has been rocked by cases related to ill-discipline of learners. Image: @Bangtanmoonlig2 / Twitter

COVID-19: Many school learners fall a year behind because of pandemic

SA Education has confirmed the COVID-19 pandemic has seen school learners fall a year behind. The impact will be felt for years.

matric learner

The Gauteng province has been rocked by cases related to ill-discipline of learners. Image: @Bangtanmoonlig2 / Twitter

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the cause of school learners falling a year behind in the schooling programme, the Department of Education said on Monday.


According to the Western Cape Education office’s MEC Debbie Schäfer, disrupted learning cost thousands of school kids some considerable knowledge inside class time.

Schäfer revealed the finding during the yearly report for the 2020/21 financial year. She said the consequences will be felt in Mzansi’s economy in future years.

“At the very start of the 2020/21 financial year, our decision-making was made dramatically more difficult as the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the Western Cape,” she said via IOL.

“The hard lockdown announced in March brought teaching and learning to an abrupt halt, and what was initially planned to be a one-month closure turned out to be a long-term disruption.


Due to the pandemic’s extremes in the first, second, and third waves in South Africa, schools were obliged to keep schoolers at home rather than risk infections in education premises.

“The impact of school closures and rotating timetables on learning outcomes has been profound,” she added.

“Of necessity, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) trimmed the curriculum for all grades except Grade 12, focusing on the core concepts our learners needed to cover before progressing to their next grade.

As a result of falling a year behind, learners, the economy and the education system will have to pay the price in the coming years.

“The trimmed parts of the curriculum will now have to be caught up, which will take many years,” Schäfer concluded.

Meanwhile, South Africa recorded 262 new cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said. The updated uppped the brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 925 939.

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