Due to technical glitches with our newsletter system, we had challenges issuing our April Newsletter as planned. However, to ensure we are not leaving anything out, we have combined April and June’s newsletters covering the first half of the year. We trust that going forward, we will be able to continue issuing our newsletter quarterly.
The last year has been testing and challenging for the education sector, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a tremendous impact on our schooling community. Amidst this pandemic, we reflect on the resilience of Government, businesses, schools, non-governmental organisations, and communities as they have adapted to and survived this new status quo.
Despite the positive strides made in the public education sector over the years, access to learning in marginalised school communities during the National Lockdown stood in stark contrast to private schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing gaps in the country’s education system. The spread of the coronavirus unearthed a wide range of systemic problems across the education landscape – from water shortages to sanitation challenges, overcrowding in classrooms and the lack of access to technology, a significant barrier for learning. The education system also lost experienced educators to the pandemic.
In February, the Department of Basic Education released the Matric Class of 2020 results. We are proud to share the accomplishments of our learners, who have risen above difficult circumstances to shine in their matric results. The Class of 2020 registered an overall pass of 76,2%, which is a decline of 5,1% compared to the performance of the 2019 cohort, although there was an increase in the number of bachelor’s and Diplomas achieved. Adopt-a-School Foundation recorded a Matric Pass rate of 80% compared to 86% performed the previous year.
We celebrate the perseverance, resilience, and agility of the Class of 2020. We also commend the families and school communities that gave their support to learners who faced the daunting challenges of learning continuation without access to the internet and devices, prolonged school closures and anxieties of returning to school under unusual circumstances.
These unprecedented circumstances have firmly rooted the importance of our vision and mission of a transformed accessible schooling environment and ensuring quality curriculum delivery throughout the 618 schools we work in.
I want to applaud the Adopt-a-School Foundation team for its hardwork and passion in delivering Whole School Development under exceptional circumstances. We have adapted our model, practices, and the implementation of our strategy; the Sustainability Roadmap towards 2024; to thrive and survive in this difficult time.
The Foundation re-imagined its Back to School for Mandela Day and launched a COVID-19 Relief three-month campaign from the 1st of July until the end of September. We trust you will join the Foundation on this campaign and help schools across the country by supporting the implementation of sanitation, digitalisation of classrooms, infrastructure and food security initiatives. More details are shared about the campaign in the newsletter, please do look out for it and I trust you will participate. Our schools need us now more than ever, COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges and we need to tackle them one school at a time.
While efforts towards achieving head immunity are implemented, we need to take extreme precautions to avoid the fourth wave. Let us unite in the fight against COVID-19.