President Cyril Rampahosa has assured South Africans that government will work hard to regain lost learning time at schools and improving the educational outcomes for learners.
“It is our priority for this year to regain lost time and improve educational outcomes, from the early years through to high school and post-school education and training,” President Ramaphosa said.
Delivering a hybrid State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening, he acknowledged the hardships experienced by South Africans last year, with the disruptions at schools placing a huge burden on learners, teachers and families.
Schools were closed for a period of time in 2020 to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Government earlier this month decided to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks, to 15 February 2021. The decision took into consideration the pressure being experienced by the health system because of the increase in COVID-19 infections due to the second wave.
“Equally we need to give attention to issues affecting children including improving school-readiness, Early Childhood Development planning and funding, protection against preventable diseases, policy reform around child welfare and reducing violence against children.
“In the year ahead we are also going to forge ahead with efforts to provide greater opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the economy and in society in general,” the President said.
The President delivered his SONA during a hybrid Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The event was held in a hybrid format as part of efforts to adhere to the National State of Disaster lockdown regulations – Alert Level 3.
No more than 50 participants were allowed inside the National Assembly Chamber. All other Members of Parliament and guests connected through virtual platforms.