05 JULY 2022

While many South African schools are having to ‘play catch-up’ after the devastating impact of COVID-19 education disruptions, the learners at Melkbosstrand Private School (MPS) do not have to. MPS learners are not subjected to having to join in this crazy race to catch-up thanks to careful planning and the implementation of pro-active safety measures, a workable COVID workplace plan and practical strategies throughout all grades which ensured that school continued, regardless, throughout the pandemic.

The post-COVID backlog

Various media headlines over the past several months have highlighted the plight of learners who, in some instances were estimated to be around 1 to 3 academic school years behind where they should be.

The backlog was thanks to a multitude of disruptions throughout the school calendar including the implementation of rotational attendance, sporadic school closures, curriculum assessment adjustments and days off for specific grades – all of which resulted in school learners losing a shocking 54% of their total learning time.

Over the Covid period statistics portrayed a dismal picture of some 400,000 to 500,000 learners reportedly having dropped out of school altogether with the total number estimated around 750,000. 

The MPS Difference

MPS, as with all schools, was faced with the same Covid-hurdles but the difference lay in its planning, actions and strategies to overcome them. 

One such example is when the Department of Basic Education cancelled June 2021 examinations for high school and Matric pupils. The proposed reasoning behind Minister Angie Motshekga’s decision was that cancelling the June exams would allow more time for learners and schools to catch-up on academic time which was lost due to schools being locked-down. MPS was bold enough to proceed with the normal June examinations as we were confident in our academic and curriculum coverage and believed that this would better prepare the learners for the important September and November final examinations.

While many schools had to resort to desperate measures and only see certain grades on alternate days, MPS learners had the privilege to have not missed a single academic school day of teaching since the end of the hard-lockdown on 1 June 2020 thanks to being able to move to remote or online schooling when necessary.

Several media articles also recently reported on research that has been done into the impact of Covid 19 on education and how the outcomes of the research can assist educators to formulate a practical plan to tackle the backlog faced by the majority of schools. This should, however, in our opinion, not include decreasing the quality and standards any further, changing the assessment criteria and amending the curriculum to try and catch up the lost academic time and content as appears to be the norm. 

“Fortune favors the Bold” – implementing the IEB Curriculum

Not only was it the pro-active approach at MPS that saved the day for our learners but MPS also took the bold decision to change to and implement the IEB curriculum in 2022 which we believe is in the best interest of our learners and their future. 

We are very proud of our teachers and staff who excelled and worked tirelessly to ensure that 100% of the old CAPS curriculum was covered and completed for 2020 and 2021. We also would like to recognise the fortitude and perseverance of our students throughout these unprecedented, trying times.

At MPS we understand the challenges of the implementation of the new IEB curriculum, but as in the past, we continue to strive for academic excellence!