COVID-19 DISRUPTIONS AND LEARNING IN SOUTH AFRICA: TWO YEARS OF EVIDENCE
Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/qczpnd

COVID-19 DISRUPTIONS AND LEARNING IN SOUTH AFRICA: TWO YEARS OF EVIDENCE

7 September 2022

Summary

Declines in average learner performance on the tests appear to be larger in primary grades (compared to grade 9) and in mathematics, confirming earlier expectations of large losses in mathematics.2 There is also evidence of widening inequality in learning across wealthier and poorer parts of the system. [...] In quintile 5 schools, 16% of grade 3s were not achieving a pass in 2019 and this increased to 25% in 2021.1 But larger losses are seen in quintile 1 schools, despite coming off a much lower performance base: 48% of grade 3s in these schools were not achieving a pass in mathematics in 2019 but this increased to 66% in 2021. [...] Losses in contact teaching time led to a 57% to 70% reduction in children’s reading development in Nguni home languages and a 62% to 81% reduction in reading development in English First Additional Language (EFAL) compared to a normal grade 2 or 4 year.6 In North West province, in a sample of 202 schools, in the second year of the pandemic, 37% of school days were lost in earlier grades (largely d. [...] z In a normal year, a sample of grade 2 Eastern Cape learners on average read an additional 13 words correctly in a minute in isiXhosa at the end of the year compared to the start of the school year. [...] Historically high repetition rates in grade 1 (18% in the Eastern Cape and 12% in Gauteng in 2016) had declined to pre-pandemic grade 2 repetition levels (12% in the Eastern Cape and 9% in Gauteng in 2016) by the end 2021.

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