The closure of schools forces parents to make tough choices
Distance Education Provider, Brainline, says it is homeschooling as usual despite the announcement by President Cyril Rampahosa last night that public schools will close from 27 July to 24 August in light of the surge of the coronavirus in communities around South Africa. Brainline CEO, Coleen Cronje.
‘We are in the very fortunate position that our learners and teachers are able to continue with the third term and our weekly online classes will not be disrupted. Since the initial lockdown in March we have experienced a surge learners who are opting for homeschooling as a viable option and we are therefore grateful that we can provide a stable academic environment amid the uncertainty experienced by others,’ she says.
While schools will close until 24 August, Grade 12s will, however, only take a week’s break and return on 3 August. Grades 7s will get a two-week break, returning on 10 August. Specific arrangements will also be made for different categories of special schools and as a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the current academic year will be extended beyond the end of 2020. Cronje says it is critical for the Department of Basic Education to share more details around the extension.
‘Many learners are feeling despondent, while others have lost interest in the 2020 academic year and this is very concerning. There have been calls from various sectors for the scrapping of this academic year, however, we must take into account that there are thousands of learners who have continued with their education despite the school closures since March. It would be very unfortunate if these learners are penalised while putting in the work. It is therefore very important that the Department communicate with urgency around the extension of the academic year and what the implications will be.’
Cronje says Brainline’s academic calendar will not change. She says parents have an important role to play when it comes to creating a stable environment for their children.
‘The current status quo has put immense pressure on parents to decide the future of their children from an academic perspective. While homeschooling and online learning could be the ideal solution, many parents are not able to commit to this option due to their workload or financial situation. Parents need to make tough choices in the interest of their children and their academic future.’
‘Parents and students are confronted with abnormal circumstances and many are not coping with the added pressures. We have found it very helpful to allow our clients to engage with a psychologist on challenges brought about by Covid-19. We are all in very unfamiliar territory but by supporting each other, we can weather the storm.’
Brainline is IEB recognised, which means that learners follow the South African National Curriculum (similar to the curriculum offered in South African schools) resulting in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) upon successful completion of their matric exams.
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