By: Selma Taapopi
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture executive director Sanet Steenkamp says learners will have to catch up with the teaching and learning interupted by Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years. According to Steenkamp, the teaching that takes place at schools should be reinforced at homes in order for learners to catch up. "The learning got lost for some time and there is a need to concentrate on key topics. When we condensed our curriculum, we took away topics that are repeating in other grades and focused on core topics. The fact of the matter is, time is of the essence and the learning that takes place at school must be reinforced when a child gets home so that we create opportunities for children while understanding that a lot of time was lost. Let us start with the basics, let us introduce reading at home," stated Steenkamp, adding that if a child can read they will be able to do basic mathematics. In a recent interview with TodayonOne on post Covid-19, Steenkamp cited that the World Bank pronounced itself that there is a learning crisis on a global level with more than 10 million school going learners across the world having fallen pregnant during Covid-19 and learners not returning to school after the pandemic. Steenkamp added that learners also experienced excessive violence and abuse and that learners are not at the level where they should have been. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,110 teachers lost their lives and the latest statistics shows 24 learners lost their lives. Steenkamp said the effects of poverty and mental health of children were already present, and it was just worsened by Covid-19. "So the reality is that we will sit with generational losses. I want to implore every person out there, our viewers, that the children are not at the level where they should've been. We had interupted school days,''stated Steenkamp adding that at household and school level learners will have to catch up as there is a lot to learn. In addition, Steenkamp stated that the Ministry has gained invaluable experience from Covid-19, noting that school managements are working closely with surveillance teams to curb infections. Steenkamp said that with the just ended education conference the issue of digital technology in schools was addressed. Steenkamp also said one of the key resolutions from the just ended four-day education conference is to ensure that they work with development partners, private sector amongst others to ensure that the learners have access to digital technologies and assistive devices in schools. Steenkamp assured the public that the ministry is working towards that.