The Woza Matric class of 2020 catch-up campaign signals a new basic education social compact post-Covid-19, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
Motshekga was speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the free-to-air television initiative aimed at supporting Grade 12 pupils after they had lost teaching and learning time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative was developed through a partnership with various stakeholders including the SABC, MultiChoice, eMedia Investments and Bidvest.
“There is no doubt that the matric class of 2020 has faced unprecedented disruptions to their schooling and learning schedules since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Almost 13 million of our learners, including some 1.2 million matriculants, have had to experience or fallen behind the curriculum coverage, which does expose them to severe deficiencies beyond 2020. It is within this context that today we launch this partnership, to provide academic support to the class of 2020,” Motshekga said.
The virtual launch was also attended by, among others, Bidvest Group CEO Nompumelelo Madisa, and panellists, SABC Group CEO, Madoda Mxakwe and Aletta Alberts, the executive head of content strategy and third-party Channels for Africa at MultiChoice.
Woza Matrics will be broadcast on SABC 3, DSTV packages and Openview channel 122 from 8am until 10am and 1pm to 3pm every day.
The programme will also be available on the DStv Catch Up function on DSTV Now.
Motshekga said she was hopeful that the catch-up programme would assist pupils as it would provide them with exam preparations as well as assisting with their mental health and stress management ahead of the examinations.
The catch-up classes will be available from 1 September to 30 November and will broadcast content for major subjects such as Mathematics, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Accounting, Economics and Business Studies.
Motshekga said the programme, which would also be interactive, had sourced high-quality content from a range of providers, who donated it for free to assist the class of 2020.
“We hope that our collaborative partnership in this programme ensnares the best that represents lost learning time, thus going a long way in mitigating the risk posed by the uncertain times of [the] Covid-19 pandemic,” the minister said.
She added that there was an emerging consensus that the pandemic had highlighted the divide between the rich and poor; resourced areas and those with limited access.
Noncedo Gumede, a Grade 12 pupil at Amangwane High School in Uthukela District in KwaZulu-Natal was also part of the programme.
The 18-year-old science pupil shared the challenges she had faced since the national lockdown started. Gumede said her class was now working under pressure, trying to complete the curriculum to be ready for the final exams.
“It’s not easy because the pace of our teachers is also very fast because we are trying to catch up with the time we lost during the national lockdown. We get little time to rest, we’re not even sure if we’re on the right path,” the pupil said.
Motshekga urged pupils to be patient and not to panic as they headed toward their final exams.
Exams for matrics were scheduled to run from 5 November until 15 December. The exam period was also expected to see the sitting of candidates who were supposed to write in June.