Angie Motshega, South Africa’s Minister of Education

South Africa’s Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshega disclosed that almost 1,500 teachers died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

An estimate of 1,493 teachers succumbed to the virus this year.

The minister said the 2020 academic year was most challenging due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“At this point, I also want to acknowledge the fact that during those difficult times, we lost almost 1,493 teachers. We lost a number of our workers. We lost a number of district officials, circuit officials,” she told a news briefing.

”In spite of this, the 2021 academic year would start on Jan. 25 with teachers and pupils returning to the classroom on Jan. 27.

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She said a three-year recovery plan would be implemented to deal with 2020’s disruptions.

“The unintended learning losses occurred due to extended closure of schools. Remember some of the learners only came in September,” Motshega said.

The department could not accommodate learners even after they had returned to the classroom.

She said grade 12 pupils who completed their year-end examinations last week lost 47 schooling days in the year.

dpa/NAN