The Class of 2022 is considered one of the most disadvantaged classes in South African education history. It was the first year that learning returned to normalcy since pre-Covid and after countless disruptions dating back to March 2020, when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s first lockdown.
In addition to the load shedding that impacted learning and schooling, the year 2022 has not been without challenges; some schools in KwaZulu-Natal were affected by the April floods.
Eskom’s power cuts are disrupting teaching and learning in South African schools. In a television interview, Basic Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said that schools were being negatively impacted by load shedding as teaching and learning are disrupted when there are power cuts.
Previous cohorts of matriculants also faced the same predicament.
In a television interview, Basic Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said that schools were being negatively impacted by load shedding as teaching and learning are disrupted when there are power cuts.
Power outages, according to Elijah, were also delaying the completion of the school curriculum. “Learners must catch up on topics not covered in class at home, where load shedding becomes an issue.”
However, the Department of Basic Education ensured that matric learners are not affected by power cuts outside of school hours and over the weekends. The department committed to liaising closely with Eskom to manage the risks posed by load shedding.
In April 2022, the worst floods in decades hit KwaZulu-Natal, affecting many learners and schools. The floods led to several learners not being able to attend school for some time due to their schools being damaged or inaccessible.
About 630 schools were affected by the KZN floods, with 124 suffering serious damage and 72 schools not being accessible due to roads and bridges being damaged.
Of the 448 fatalities suffered in the floods, 64 were learners.
While addressing the state of readiness for the exams in early October, KZN MEC of Education Mbali Frazer stated that the department would engage the SAPS as part of the final exam preparations.
“The local SAPS will be on standby to assist where there are challenges caused by inclement weather. The Department of Education has also hired four-wheel-drive vehicles to use in case of inclement weather. The weather bureau will provide forecasts to warn the system of possibilities of heavy rains.”
Security at schools
School security was another issue that plagued the 2022 school year. Earlier this year, we saw incidents of vandalism and violence at schools in provinces such as Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Schools are no longer safe and secure environments where children can go to learn, enjoy themselves and feel secure. Rather they are increasingly being defined as dangerous and unsafe places of learning. But the DBE gave an assurance that it was currently working to make sure schools became a safe environment. -Sources: Department of Basic Education (DBE)