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The Basic Education Department is considering exactly how to salvage the 2020 school year in the face of the two-week extension of the national lockdown, and possible further extensions.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says it has planned for various scenarios, including the much-talked about option of cancelling the rest of this year's school holidays.

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Parents and schools are making use of online tools for home schooling, but many families don't have access to these resources.

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The department has also made educational programmes available on national radio and television.

Mhlanga is positive that kids will still be able to catch up on their school work, with some adjustment.

One of the options is to focus on that content a pupil is required to know before being promoted to the next grade.

We still believe we'll be able to catch up. We need to do some real adjustments to our activities, but it's still possible.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

We still have holidays we can do away with and we still have the curriculum structure which allows for us to compress it by removing some of the content that is not really core. You know you learn everything, but not everything is examined.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

Regarding Grade 12 learners, Mhlanga says one of the choices being considered is getting this group back to school first.

Because theirs is a nationally managed exam and we know how many they are. We are busy finalising their details so we can know where they are and we can spread them across the country nicely so that we maintain the social distancing while they are learning, in a strictly controlled environment.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

Mhlanga also discusses the way forward for Grade 1 to 11 learners, encouraging family and community members to assist those households that do not have television sets to help children access the resources available on SABC every morning.

You decide if you progress everyone or not, but either way you look at the practical implications.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

If you were to hit June without any learning having taken place **then **you could encounter some serious problems, so now the plans we are looking at are considering that fact that we shouldn't get there without any learning taking place.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

He says an announcement can be expected in the next 4-5 days, after next week's Cabinet meeting.

We always show concern when education is not going right, so this is the time for all of us to play a part and make it work.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

For more from the education spokesperson, take a listen:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Scrapping school holidays only one option being considered to save academic year

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