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Covid-19 lockdown: School’s not out - it just went online

Botlhale Mokaiwa, 12, and Kitso Motsieloa, 5, from Klerksdorp in the North West, study at home. Supplied

Botlhale Mokaiwa, 12, and Kitso Motsieloa, 5, from Klerksdorp in the North West, study at home. Supplied

Published Apr 1, 2020

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While some children might have got a free holiday thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, for others it is school as usual.

Every day, siblings Botlhale Mokaiwa, 12, and Kitso Motsieloa, 5, from Klerksdorp, North-West, wake up and prepare for school. They get dressed in their school uniforms before having breakfast and sit in the study and the dining room table for their studies.

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Their mother, Susan Motsieloa, said she and her husband, Teboho, didn’t want the lockdown to be an excuse for them to slack off on their schoolwork. Schools went into early recess on March 18 as a way to curb the spread of Covid-19. It is still unclear when they will be open and as a result, a lot of parents have resorted to home-

schooling their children.

“On Sunday, I warned them that Monday was back to school. I told them they needed to get their school clothes ready and cleaned. They were not very happy about it, but had no choice,” Motsieloa said. Botlhale is in Grade 7 and Kitso in Grade R.

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Motsieloa said while at first she thought it was a good idea for them to sit next to each other for lessons, the younger boy got fidgety and bored and she had to separate them. Kitso mostly practices his writing, counting and colouring in.

“Botlhale’s school has an e-learning portal so he connects to it and does his schoolwork. The school has modules on the portal and he just has to log in and do his work. If he has a problem, he is able to contact the teacher.

“I am also able to log in to the system to check on his progress as well. We are ready for the long haul. As long as he can log on to the system, there is no need for him to stop learning,” Motsieloa said. Botlhale said he was happy about working from home.

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“It feels good because I can catch up on the stuff I missed like my maths and family consumer sciences. The maths is very exciting, I am actually getting 100% now,” he said.

School finishes at 2pm and the boys are then free to play.

“They usually help with the chores in the house, play soccer with my husband and they also play board games like chess and scrabble,” she said.

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Mpho Mudau from Weltevreden Park uses e-learning tools to keep up to date with her schoolwork. Supplied

For Grade 10 pupil Mpho Mudau, who goes to an independent school, classes were never out. She has been attending regular online lessons on an e-learning portal since the lockdown was announced.

Her mother, Patience Mudau, said: “Their school didn’t close. They just moved the learning online. Her classes start at 7am but we wake up earlier to do yoga. Depending on the day, school ends just after 2pm or just before 3pm.”

Once school is out, Mpho still has to do an hour of piano lessons over video calling. “She has a piano at home and just has to set the video call on her hands so the teacher can see them as she plays. So her life has continued as normal,” Mudau said.

Once she is done with all her lessons, Mpho then runs 5km around the yard.

“We have tried to keep the same routine for her. To de-stress we try and cook together every day and watch something that’s not related to the news. We understand that we are so lucky to be able to do all of this because we have access to WiFi. I wish it was possible for other families to also be able to do this,” Mudau said.

Mpho agreed with her mother. “I genuinely enjoy online schooling because it allows me to work at my own pace. I think that e-learning should be imparted further than just the coronavirus crisis,” Mpho said.

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