A survey has indicated that black parents are more sceptical about their children returning to full-time school attendance. | Werner Beukes/SAPA
A survey has indicated that black parents are more sceptical about their children returning to full-time school attendance. | Werner Beukes/SAPA

Only 56% of black parents believe children should go back to full-time attendance - survey

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published May 12, 2021

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About 56% of black South African parents believe that children should go back to school full-time. This is the lowest rate compared to that of white parents and coloured parents.

According to the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) - Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) Wave 4 report, black parents were hesitant to send their children to attend full-time at school. However, 85% of white parents and 69% of coloured parents who responded to the survey agreed that their children should return to full-time attendance.

The NIDS -CRAM Wave 4 Synthesis Report survey, spearheaded by Stellenbosch University’s Dr Nic Spaull and University of Cape Town’s Associate Professor Reza Daniels, was conducted between February and March this year.

Overall, the survey indicates that the majority of parents and caregivers in South Africa - 58% - agreed that children should be able to attend school every day, rather than on rotational timetables.

Probed on whether parents and caregivers worried more about their children now that they have returned to school, 57% said they were indeed more worried. This is a 5% increase of parents or caregivers who are worried compared to those surveyed in November/ December 2020.

“Racial differences in parent and caregiver attitudes are significantly related to factors concerning socio-economic disadvantage. As such, agreeing that children should attend school every day could indicate that parents are confident in their children’s schools’ ability to manage risk and ensure child and teacher safety,” the report stated.

In April, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said it was mulling over the decision to have all primary school pupils go back to school full-time.

In an interview with television news channel eNCA, DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the DBE was not the only one calling for full-time attendance, but said it would do so responsibly.

Most public schools are attending on a rotation schedule, the hybrid model. This means pupils are in school two days in one week and three days the following week – five days fortnightly.

The report recommended that primary school pupils should at least return to school on a full-time basis.

“Learning losses are substantial and are eroding 10 years of improvement. School closures or disruptions are not an effective non-pharmaceutical response,” the report recommended.

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