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DBE holds the annual lekgotla to discuss recovery plan for basic education after two years of COVID-19 disruptions

THE Department of Basic Education is holding the annual lekgotla this week at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park. The focus of the Lekgotla is to discuss the recovery plan for basic education after two years of disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Theme for 2022 Lekgotla is: “Equipping Learners with Knowledge and Skills for a Changing World in the Context of Covid-19”.

The annual Basic Education Sector Lekgotla is set to end on Friday, January 28, 2022.

In her address, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the sector lost at least 50% of curriculum time due to rotational timetabling and intermittent closures.

“As a government, we are mulling over options to mitigate against losing contact teaching time in 2022

and beyond,” Motshekga said.

The minister said that they have recommended to the National Coronavirus Command Council to reduce the social distancing measures in the classrooms.

“As a government, we are mulling over options to mitigate against losing contact teaching time in 2022

and beyond. We have recommended to the National Coronavirus Command Council to reduce the social

distancing measures in our classrooms. The ideal is to have all our learners receiving contact teaching

time at the same time to mitigate against dropouts, increase retention rates and prevent failures,”

Motshekga said.

Motshekga said that the basic education ecosystem must be strengthened to future proof against the

subsequent pandemics.

“In the end, we must strengthen the basic education ecosystem so that it is future proof against the

subsequent pandemics. We do so because Basic Education is so crucial that there’s evidence it strengthens democracies, improves the nation’s health outcomes and contributes significantly to economic growth.”

The minister said that there’s a need to build a coherent response on the measures to reboot and rebuild the basic education system battered by the two years of Covid-19.

Since the start of this year, many people have been calling for primary and high school learners to return to full-time attendance for the 2022 academic year.

“Thus, Basic education remains an apex priority of this government. As such, it is critical to continuously assess the performance of this crucial sector because we carry the hopes and dreams of our people on our broad shoulders,” said Motshekga.

Motshekga acknowledged that the matric class of 2021 endured two years of schooling under the COVID-19.

“We must understand the pass rate of 76.4% for the Matric Class of 2021 in the context that this cohort

endured two years of schooling under the COVID-19 disruptions, including intermittent closures,”  she said.

The minister said the department must support vulnerable learners.

“As a department, we must do more to support vulnerable learners, increase retention and stem the

tide of dropouts; this programme is part of our last-ditch effort in this regard. Our responsibility as

Government is to offer the highest standard of basic education to our learners in a safe and secure

Environment,” she said.

The minister further added that “We must see teachers displaying compassion virtue as many of our learners come from diverse communities, child-headed households, high crime levels, unemployment, and various social ills.”

Inside Education

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UCT ties with Princeton in top international universities ranking

TIMES Higher Education (THE) has ranked the University of Cape Town (UCT) fifty-fifth in its 2022 list of the most international universities in the world, making it the only African university on the list.

UCT ranks fifty-fifth with Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University in the US and was selected owing to its collaboration on research across the world, having a strong global reputation and its large contingent of international students and staff.

“We value our internationalisation and its many facets – more than can be encompassed in a single measurement. We also recognise that in our current context – more than ever – these international connections and the shared knowledge and collaboration that they enable will help to ensure that, as a society, we address and resolve the most complex challenges of our time,” said UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation Professor Sue Harrison.

The University of Hong Kong took first place in the THE ranking, ETH Zurich took second place, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology tied for third.

Only those institutions that received 100 votes or more in the international reputation survey and at least 50 votes, or 10%, of the available domestic votes are eligible for inclusion on the list.

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DA to approach High Court to order schools to open fully – Steenhuisen

THE DA is compiling papers to bring an urgent interdict to direct schools to open fully, John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance, said on Wednesday. 

He said government’s 1m distance policy for schools means that most schools are forced to operate on a rotational basis whereby each schoolchild only attends school 50% of the time.

This policy is irrational, unjustifiable, unfair and downright outrageous, said Steenhuisen.

“There is no justification for continuing with rotational schooling. In the current South African context, this policy is devoid of any benefit in reducing infections,” said Steenhuisen.

“The purpose of the policy was to enable 1m social distancing in classrooms, to thereby take pressure off the health system by slowing the spread of the virus. Yet, the health system has not been under pressure from the virus during the fourth wave.”

Steenhuisen said unlike many other countries, there is a very high level of natural immunity in the SA population, driven by a high rate of prior infection.

This immunity is now considered by scientists to be in the region of 70-90% of the SA population.

Therefore, Covid hospitalisations have been much lower than previous waves. And even so, 50% of them have been incidental, meaning people were admitted for non-Covid reasons and then happened to test positive, so did not require ventilation or Covid ICU bed space.

Steenhuisen said the risk to schoolchildren that accrues from them missing school far outweighs the benefit to those in the high-risk group that accrues from having schoolchildren on a rotational schooling system.

There is evidence of schoolchildren losing 57-81% of their reading ability due to rotational schooling.

Most schoolchildren lost over 50% of their schooling in 2020 and 2021.

Hundreds of thousands have dropped out of school altogether as a result of the indirect effects of Covid regulations.

In 2021 alone, some 370 000 to 700 000 learners dropped out of school, adding to the already burgeoning ranks of youth not in education, employment or skills training.

UNICEF South Africa representative Christine Muhigana says: “The reality is that South Africa cannot afford to lose another learner or another hour of learning time. It is urgent that we get every child back into the classroom, safely, now.”

He said rotational schooling is also causing mental distress, increased exposure to violence and abuse, and increased malnutrition from missed school meals.

“All of which have long-term consequences for the health and well-being of this and future generations.

There is a need to balance the rights of the high-risk group to health with the rights of children to education,” said Steenhuisen.

“However, those individuals who have a high-risk of severe disease or death from Covid have the option of getting vaccinated. There is no supply or access problem with vaccines. And there is evidence that vaccines are highly effective at providing protection from severe disease and death. 

 Unvaccinated individuals in the high-risk group have chosen this risk.”

* Inside Education

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Lamola commends the inmate class of 2021 for achieving 89% pass rate

JUSTICE and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, has commended the inmate class of 2021 for achieving an 89% pass rate.

Lamola was speaking at the Barberton Correctional Centre in Mpumalanga during the announcement of inmates’ 2021 matric results.

According to Lamola, the Correctional Services Department had registered a total of 191 inmates for the 2021 matric examination.

Lamola said the prison population achieved an 89% percent pass rate, with a total of 77 Bachelor and 47 Diploma passes.

Lamola appealed to families of inmates to pay tuition fees for inmates to enable them to continue with their studies.

“With education, upon their release, they will become better people away from criminal activities. We are confident that 2022 will be a better year than 2021,” he said, adding that inmates below the age of 30 should be encouraged to study.

After announcing the results, Lamola, assisted by Correctional Services officials, handed over awards to the best performing learners, educators and schools.

Prior to announcing the results, Lamola conducted an inspection at some of the self-sufficiency projects at the centre, including a bakery, which produces bread for inmates in Mpumalanga and the newly developed Orchard.

The DCS says it continues to achieve great Matric results, with the following pass rates recorded in the last five years:  2016 – 72.1%; 2017 – 76.7%; 2018 – 77.3%; 2019 – 82.6% and 2020 – 86.3% and 2021 – 89%.

According to the department, some inmates upon completing Matric, went on to attain degrees in various fields.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2021 National Senior Certificate examination results last Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Motshekga addressed some of the country’s top performing matric pupils at public schools from the class of 2021 in Johannesburg.

According to the Department of Basic Education, candidates who failed a subject, or want to improve their marks, have another chance to improve their results.

SA News

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Motshekga calls for social distancing to be reduced as learners return to school full-time

Staff Reporter|

BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga has called for the social distancing space between pupils to be reduced.

The Disaster Management Act currently only allows children to be a meter apart from each other but in some schools where infrastructure doesn’t allow it, children have to take turns on which days they are allowed at school.

All COVID-19 protocols remain in place in South Africa and includes social distancing between desks of up to a meter.

The law says primary schools and schools for learners with special education needs that return to the traditional and daily attendance timetabling model, as well as school hostels, must ensure strict compliance with social distancing measures and minimum health protocols, which include the wearing of face masks, the washing of hands and the use of hand sanitizers, and must comply with safety measures on COVID-19

Motshekga said that they were consulting the Cooperative Governance Department to further reduce this to allow more children to attend school.

Motshekga said that while children were back in the classroom, negotiations were continuing to reduce the COVID-19 regulations in schools, requiring children to be separated by up to a meter.

But with some schools, which simply don’t have the space, it is excluding some children from attending class full time.

The department said that 80% of teachers were vaccinated and with children 12 years and older eligible, parents were encouraged to make sure their children got a jab too.

The teacher unions have reiterated that they were not consulted in regard to the new proposed reduced social distance of 0,5m in primary schools.

“Our advice to schools in the interim is that where the 1m cannot be complied with, the schools should follow the deviation provisions as contained in the Gazette and to continue with rotational timetabling. This is done in the best interest of the child, educators and the community and to ensure that schools do not become super-spreaders but rather the barriers against the transmission,” according to teacher unions.

* Inside Education

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New school certificate to be introduced in South Africa from 2022

THE Department of Basic Education will pilot the new General Education Certificate (GEC) at hundreds of South African schools in 2022, with plans to roll out the certificate to all schools in the country by the 2024 school year.

Basic Education minister said Angie Motshekga said the GEC is seen as an ‘important and progressive qualification’ that will improve career pathing, employability and reduce dropout rates of South African students.

“It allows for learners after 10 years of schooling (Grade R9), to be recognised for their levels of curriculum attainment, general capabilities and talents,” said Motshekga.

“Information and scores from the 21st-century skills into School-Based Assessment (SBA); standardised curriculum tests and through an inclination (or talent) assessment, will be used to generate a report card, reflecting a holistic dashboard of learner’s skills and capabilities.”

Motshekga said broad consultations around the certificate have already taken place with stakeholders, partners, and experts on the most appropriate model for the GEC, and public comments have been considered in introducing the policy.

“This year, about 300 schools will participate in the GEC pilot, with further up-scaling planned for 2023. By 2024, all schools will be participating GEC policy,” she said.

The GEC is intended to formally recognise learners’ achievements at the end of the compulsory phase of schooling. Its primary purpose is to facilitate subject choices beyond Grade 9 and articulation between schools and TVET colleges.

Under the current system, hundreds of students leave the school system each year without a qualification, hindering them from finding jobs.

While the department has reiterated that this is not an exit point for learners from the school system: the certificate will provide better decision-making for learners, especially those who may shift focus to more technical subjects and trades instead of a singular focus on a college or university education

* BusinessTech

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How COVID is affecting school attendance in South Africa: piecing together the puzzle

DEBRA SHEPHERD and NOMPUMELELO MOHOLWANE|

ESTIMATING how many learners have dropped out of school as a consequence of the COVID pandemic is an issue governments across the globe are trying to pin down. The subject has been open to intense debate in South Africa and often receives additional attention when the results for the final year of schooling are due for release.

As academics examining trends in access and learning outcomes over the past decade, we have taken a particular interest in measuring how the pandemic has contributed to learner dropout.

We also want to contribute to a better understanding of learner dropout so that appropriate steps can be taken to address the issue effectively.

In a paper published late last year we attempted to begin to sketch the parameters of how badly COVID-19 had affected school attendance. It was a difficult exercise as a great deal of useful data are not yet available.

The approach we took, therefore, was to use data from the longitudinal National Income Dynamics Study–Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), a telephonic survey conducted with a nationally representative sample of South African adults aged 18 years and older.

The data was collected across five waves in 2020 and 2021.

We drew specifically from survey results related to education. We used this in combination with data from other household surveys used to track learner attendance, such as the General Household Survey.

In our analysis we estimated that about 1 million learners had not returned to school by April/May 2021. We do, however, expect that many of these learners could get back into the system as and when schools return to daily attendance.

Disengagement from schooling puts students at a greater risk of permanently dropping out of school. It also presents long-term consequences such as reduced participation in further education and training, lower chances of employment and lifetime earnings, and poor health.

The knowns, and unknowns

To try and understand how the education landscape has changed since the pandemic’s onset, we first needed to know how learner non-return to school looked in recent pre-pandemic years. Using data from the 2017 National Income Dynamics Study and 2017-2019 General Household Surveys, we estimated that 290,000 children of school-going age typically didn’t return to school each year.

According to our analysis there has been a close to doubling in the percentage of households with non-attending learners.

The number of non-attending learners per household increased from 1 in recent pre-pandemic years to 1.32 in November 2020 and 1.86 in April/May 2021. We concluded from this that just over 1 million learners were not attending school in April/May 2021.

We then subtracted the 290,000 learners who typically had not returned to school in recent pre-pandemic years, arriving at a number of roughly 700,000 additional learners not attending school in April/May 2021.

The 700,000 and the 290,000 are slightly different cohorts. The pre-pandemic figure of 290,000 of non-returned learners is overwhelmingly made up of children who were no longer legally required to attend school.

By contrast, the additional 700,000 children not returned to school by April/May 2021 are mostly of a compulsory school going age (seven to 15 years old).

Comparing our estimates to enrolment data confirms that our measure may have only shown “extended absenteeism” and not dropout.

Enrolment among compulsory school-aged learners dropped by 19,000 in 2021 and first time enrolments among 4.5- to 6-year-olds dropped by 27,000.

We expect, therefore, that many of the 700,000 non-returned learners could get back into the system as and when schools return to daily attendance.

While analyses of household and school enrolment data are important parts of the puzzle, the ultimate measure for dropout is active participation through administrative daily attendance data. This measure is not available.

Before COVID-19

To put our COVID-19 analysis in perspective, it’s useful to note that before the pandemic South Africa appeared to be making progress in its efforts to raise school enrolments, and retention.

According to the 2019 General Household Survey, levels of attendance among compulsory school-aged learners in South Africa exceeded 98%. Analysis we did based on 2017 data indicated that close to 100% of 6- to 15-year-olds enrolled in school in 2016 returned to school the following year.

Moreover, analyses of large scale national data sets had begun to point towards large improvements in mathematics performance as well as steady improvements in reading since the mid-2000s.

This points to systemic improvements in the quality of learning in the country’s basic education system. This signals not only enrolment but active participation leading to learning.

What needs to be done

So how should the country respond?

Firstly, education researchers should be clear about what’s being referred to when discussing dropout. Is it enrolment, extended absence, or dropout? These provide different estimates and each method has its limitations.

Secondly, the country should continuously engage on the push-out and pull-out factors of disengagement – the process of learners gradually experiencing increasing exclusion from school.

Push-out factors include weak learning outcomes, high fees, and other barriers that limit access to school. Pull-out factors include household and social pressures such as the need to earn an income and increasing child-rearing responsibilities.

Regarding the education sector, pandemic-specific responses should include quantifying and addressing learning gaps and losses. Previous research has shown that poor learning foundations were the largest contributing factor to school dropout.

We also know from international experience that learning gaps from short-term disruptions can compound rapidly if not addressed. Also, evidence from Nigeria showed that continued disruptions lead to continued absence even after schools reopened.

Therefore, continued disruptions to schooling and extended learner absence that goes unaddressed will, in all likelihood, lead to permanent dropout. As parents, teachers, school leaders and broader education stakeholders, we should engage further on how to keep schools open and learners engaged.

Debra Shepherd is senior lecturer Stellenbosch University; Nompumelelo Mohohlwane is education researcher Stellenbosch University.

The Conversation

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Education Systems in the Commonwealth

A NEW education study has identified strategies governments can use to address the disruptions and learning gaps created by school closures and other responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Produced by the Commonwealth Secretariat and South Africa-based JET Education Services, the report urges governments to build more resilient education systems that can withstand future crises and ensure continuity of educational provision and access to education services, especially for marginalised populations.

The publication, The Impact of COVID-19 on Education Systems in the Commonwealth report (PDF), which is a collation of eleven research papers, drew on the experience and expertise of several researchers and established experts to provide insight into early interventions and mitigation strategies.

It comprehensively examines the short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic and identifies priority issues for governments and policymakers to focus on in order to address the possible negative impact on students, particularly those in low-income countries, rural and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Inequalities intensified during lockdown

Using research from a selection of Commonwealth countries, one key finding that was repeatedly highlighted in the report is that of the delivery of education and access to quality education.

The report found that these and other existing educational inequalities were further exacerbated by national lockdowns finding communities that were already disadvantaged and excluded from adequate resources and support before the pandemic in a far much worse situation, leading to the reduction of learning opportunities and school performance.

Data also suggests that being out of school was likely to mean a cessation of learning for girls, who become further engaged in domestic responsibilities, placing them at risk of academic failure and reinforcing community beliefs that educating boys is more important than girls.

And as educational institutions resorted to emergency remote teaching to ensure continuity in the teaching and learning process, this further led to exclusions for marginalised populations who could not afford technology and those living in remote areas where internet connectivity is still a problem.

Urgent action needed to support recovery and transform education post-COVID

To mitigate the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the report suggests, among others:

the need to rethink the curriculum or design an alternative model that can be activated when remote teaching is neededsolutions such as developing and distributing structured school workbooksadjusting the school calendar to maximise teaching time following lockdownre-enrolment of marginalised learners as being of great importance, especially for girls who are at the highest risk of dropping outprovision of supportive environments to enable children to focus on learning, highlighting that parents and teachers have a critical role to play in this, especially those in underserved areasfurther investment is warranted in technologies capable of delivering education remotely

International Day of Education

The release of the publication coincides with the International Day of Education which will be observed on 24th January 2022 under the theme, Changing Course, Transforming Education, putting the spotlight under the gaping inequalities that the pandemic has placed before us and how to build a stronger and sustainable education system to safeguard the futures for this generation and those to come.

Dr Amina Osman, Education Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat and one of the authors of the report, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought education systems across the world, especially in low-income countries, to a standstill. Millions of students across the world, particularly those from poorer and marginalised backgrounds, are at risk of even further educational exclusion unless urgent action is taken to curb the impact of COVID-19. So, as we mark the International Day of Education, it is clear now more than ever that urgent action needs to be taken by governments and policymakers to respond to the current crisis and support its recovery by building more equitable and resilient education systems to ensure sustained learning for all continues, whether online, in person or hybrid.”

She added, “I hope the recommendations contained within this report will serve as a benchmark to shape future policies to allow students to achieve their full potential. To this end, The Secretariat will continue to work with member countries, stakeholders, and partners, as part of its commitment to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4 and strengthening education systems and policies across the Commonwealth.”

The paper was produced in partnership with JET Education Services, an education development body based in South Africa, and is the second in a series looking at the impact of the pandemic on education services.

The results of this research paper will feed into individual Commonwealth countries’ decision-making processes.

Reliefweb.int

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Former Joburg domestic worker opens her own school to uplift young people

VICKY ABRAHAM

A FORMER domestic worker and a street hawker from Roodepoort, Johannesburg, is a living testimony that nothing is impossible in life.

Mrs Victoria Bomouan, 41, who is now an owner of a crèche, pre and primary school, spent four years as a domestic worker smelling, tasting and touching wealth in her employers’ estates where she was cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing clothes, and taking care of children.

But come holiday times, she went back to a one-bedroom mud-house in Ganyesa rural area in the North West province, which is owned by her 96-year-old grandmother, Mrs Otlagomodiwaeng Molapong.

She shared the one-bedroom mud-house with ten of her family members and they survived through Molapong’s pension grant.

Mrs Bomouan did not allow her background to deter her from achieving her goal of owning schools.  She has proven that she is not destined to work as a domestic worker for the rest of her life, but predestined for greater heights in life.  

She is now the co-director and founder of a primary school called, Ruach Christian School (meaning Holy Spirit in Hebrew). Ruach Christian School was launched early last year by Mrs Bomouan and her husband, Dr Maurice Bomouan (45), who previously worked as a car guard.

Ruach Christian School caters for Grade R learners (pre-school) to Grade 7 (primary school). The school will soon accommodate Grade 8 to 12 high school students.

The school is situated on the first floor of a building dubbed, “Absa building” in Roodepoort where the Bomouans started out their lives as a married couple in 2004.

This building has three floors and a car guard’s quarters at the backyard. It had first accommodated Dr Bomouan as an employee and his wife in the car guards’ quarters. But, two floors have now transformed into their business hub.

Not far from the street where Mrs Bomouan worked as a hawker around 2004, is Christian Creche, an NPO that she founded in 2011. It is situated in their first house that they purchased in 2006 which they have converted into a crèche.

Sharing her life experience with us, Mrs Bomouan said it took her almost 21 years to succeed in life.

“I came to Joburg in 2000 and lived in Tembisa. I got a job as a domestic worker in Clubview in Centurion. I was getting paid R50 per day and I worked on Saturdays only. Therefore, I was getting paid R200 per month. It was a lot of money back then. The owner of the house that I worked for gave me bedding stuff and I was excited. He would give me cooked and raw food, clothing and stuff for babies. But I did not have a child by then.”

Mrs Bomouan enjoyed her work as a domestic worker and did not experience any challenges.

“My mom was very strict. She taught me housework at the age of 12. Therefore, I did not experience challenges in my job as a domestic worker. I was just relaxed in my job.”

She worked for different employers in different cities around the Gauteng province. She later obtained a similar job and earned R800 per month.

“I also looked after my aunt’s kids. They would not give me money but a plate of food because there was no food at home. My mom was working but there was not enough money. I and four of my siblings, and six of my aunts’ children depended on my grandmother’s pension grant, I think it was around R600 or R800 per month,” said Mrs Bomouan.

According to International Labour Organization (ILO), there are 75.6 million domestic workers worldwide and 76.2 per cent are women and a quarter are men.

Mrs Bomouan’s work as a domestic worker ended at Rumisig where she earned R70 per day. To make ends meet, she later started an informal business as a hawker.

“I ran a public phone business and charged 50cents per call. My husband would push my trolley (to her selling spot), containing a chair for me to sit on while waiting for customers, an umbrella, public phone and its battery charger, two trays of eggs and sweets that I was selling.”

“I sat under the sun, heavy rains and strong winds waiting for customers to come and buy from me and make phone calls. The umbrella was not that strong. It would break when it was too windy. It was not nice.”

Her husband, who used savings from his meager salary as a car guard to start a vehicle registration, licensing, renewal, and number plates business, later brought her into the business.

The business which started from humble beginnings currently provides its service to well-known car dealers. It was through this business that they were successfully granted a home loan from the bank to purchase their first house which they later converted to a crèche.

She says her love for children propelled her to start Christian Creche. It was also prompted by the fact that her son was not properly looked after at the crèche he attended. “He was constantly sick because they were not looking after the kids properly. The meals were not well balanced. They ate tinned fish and rice every day. I said to myself, ‘now it’s time to start what I have a passion for (opening a crèche)’.”

Mrs Bomouan who has a Diploma in Ministry with Spirit Life Bible College and a Certificate in Ministry with Team Impact University,  has registered with the University of South Africa (UNISA) to study towards a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Development: Foundation Phase) this year.

She explained that it was through the guidance of a fellow church member who is a qualified educator that she was able to register the crèche with the government’s Department of Social Development. But it did not happen overnight as there were lots of hurdles and procedures that they had to undergo to qualify to register it.

Christian Creche accommodates children from different ethnic groups and religious backgrounds.

Dr Bomouan said, “We are a Christian home (crèche), but Muslim parents allowed their children to be enrolled with us and teach them the Bible. They did not even complain that the food was not halaal. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our business. Parents from Malawi, Nigeria and Ethiopia also enrolled their kids”.

Based on how Mrs Bomouan and her team of qualified educators successfully operated the creche, the Department of Education allowed her to register Ruach Christian School (primary school).

An elated Mrs Bomouan said, “I praise the Lord when I think about what He has done for me. I was very excited when we learned that the primary school is already approved for registration. I sang to the Lord. It has been in operation for a year. I am so excited, I thank God”.

Reflecting on the effect of Covid-19 on her business she said, “Covid-19 has not only affected us but all nations, all race, the poor and rich. We have learned how to trust the Lord in good and bad times. In 2020, our finances were affected (due to Covid-19) so badly. The crèche was closed for six months, no work, no salary, but we were making sure we updated the parents concerning the reopening of the crèche. Remember, the primary school only opened last year”.

* Inside Education

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Tributes Continue To Pour In For Phomolong Secondary Deputy Principal

WENDY MOTHATA|

TRIBUTES continue to pour in following the shooting of Phomolong Secondary school deputy principal, Thembisile Ngendane. She was shot and killed on Friday in Tembisa, Gauteng while  driving out of the school gates.

It is alleged that Ngendane was gunned down by three unidentified men.

Phomolong Secondary school learners have placed candles in a spot where their deputy principal was shot dead. 

The Geography and Mathematics teacher has been described not only as a teacher but also as a mother.

The former leaner from Phomolog Secondary who was also taught by Ngendane, Thabo Sebola said that the school has lost the best teacher.

“I remember her well. She was not only a teacher but a mother to us. Phomolong Secondary School in Tembisa really lost the best teacher. May her soul rest in peace, my former class teacher Ma’am Ngdendane,” he said.

Another former learner, Nhlanhla Ntsandzane said Ngendane was warm-hearted and always willing to listen to help learners.

“Maam Ngendane was down to Earth, warm-hearted. She was always willing to help us, not only with school work but with all the issues we could be facing,” said Ntsandzane.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has visited Phomolong Secondary School on Monday. He said that work is underway to find the killers of the deputy principal, “a plan is in place to track the culprits.”

Lesufi said the police task team have been assigned to track the killers.  He affirmed his confidence in the provincial task team assigned to apprehend the suspects involved in the death of Phomolong Secondary School’s deputy principal within the next 72 hours.

Lesufi further warned against the spread of false information around Ngendane’s death, “This is not a WhatsApp matter, this is real life, this is a person with a family. We can’t allow these criminals to do this to us and we fold our arms.”

Addressing the learners, the MEC said that learners and teachers will be provided with counselling.

He further urged those with information about the shooting to inform the police.

Family spokesperson Yolo Ngendane said the family was shocked on Friday when they received the news about the shooting.

“On Friday, we were shocked when we received the news about the passing of our daughter. We don’t even know how and why it happened because she is a calm person. It hurts but we are thankful for people who come and comfort us,” he said.

In an interview with Jacaranda FM. Thembisile’s husband, Wiseman Ngendane said: “There was minimal acceptance to me regarding the allegation that a matric pupil shot her because the pupil failed Grade 12, to me it looks like the alleged student was used to shoot her, my suspicion was that my wife was recently promoted, and she had competitors at school.

Wiseman further added: “Thembisile was friendly to the students, she loved them, she never complained about the students. My suspicion is that it was an inside job, even some SGB members said it was an inside job.”

* Inside Education