Western Cape Commissioner for Children Christina Nomdo with her niece, Gee le Roux.
Western Cape Commissioner for Children Christina Nomdo with her niece, Gee le Roux.

Schoolchildren speak out about learning during Covid-19 lockdown

By Keagan Mitchell Time of article published Jan 16, 2021

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Cape Town - Pupils are making their voices heard regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

And many are speaking of concern for their safety and that of their families.

In partnership with the Child Government Monitors, Western Cape Commissioner for Children Christina Nomdo embarked on consultations with children in the province about learning during the pandemic.

The project, #LearninginCovidtimes, started on January 6 and runs until January 31.

It caters for all pupils, including those who will start Grade R this year and those who completed matric last year.

It focuses on pupils sharing their feelings and experiences of learning during the pandemic and suggestions of how learning can be improved during 2021.

#LearninginCOVIDtimes was inspired by Nomdo’s five-year-old niece, Gee le Roux, who requested that she must ask the president if she will be able to start Grade R on time this year as the country faces its second wave.

Nomdo said: “The issue I am hearing children talk about thus far is concern for their safety and that of their families when they go back to school.

“They want health protocols to be strictly adhered to in schools, in order to be safe from Covid-19.

“Some express excitement to start their learning again and hope educators can make alternative methods of learning available should the need arise.

“So, it is important that adult duty bearers of child rights fulfil their responsibilities towards children.”

Winetha Booysen, 13, who will attend Grade 8 at Steynville Secondary School in Piketberg this year, said: “The consultations about the Covid-19 pandemic are really important, as it keeps us updated about the learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I really enjoy interacting with other children and learning about their experiences last year.

“It was really challenging to go to school last year because we had a lot of work to catch up on.

“The one thing that kept me motivated last year was the thought about my future.”

Saadiq Daniels, 15, who will be in Grade 10 at Vista Nova High School this year said: “Schooling was challenging as we had to be more careful and observant because we could not make close contact with our friends.

“One thing that was very challenging was that I had to wear a mask the whole day.

“As an asthma sufferer, it's not easy to keep it on all the time.

“My wish is that the education system will be more stable and hope things can just be normal as usual.

“Let's all keep safe and pray the virus will vanish soon.”

Christopher Kleynhans, 17, who will be in Grade 12 at Wynberg Boys’ High School this year said last year’s vibe at school was very different.

“Normally, the energy levels are high and the pupils are normally much more optimistic, but during Covid-19 I’ve seen the pupils feel a lot more demotivated and have less energy to do work to the best of their abilities.

“Schooling has changed completely.

“From shorter weeks, to no assemblies to not even having sport games.

“I miss it and want to go back.What kept me motivated was my friends.

Knowing I’m going through it with them made it a lot easier.”

Amahle Somo, 18, who was in Grade 12 at Schoonspruit Secondary School in Malmesbury last year said: “ I hope that the class of 2021 will have a better matric year than we had, and all Covid-19 rules and regulations will be thoroughly adhered to in all schools and better learning techniques will be introduced to make this year a better academic year.”

Winetha, Saadiq, and Christopher are Child Government Monitors.

It means children who want to be child rights activists are nominated to work with Nomdo’s office.

Amahle is Mentor, a Child Government Monitor, who has turned 18, “the age of majority”.

Weekend Argus

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