Following advice from the Department of Basic Education (DBE), schools are set to reopen gradually from 1st June 2020.

While initially it was presented that schools would begin as soon as this week, the DBE has understandably pushed that date back.

The problem schools and learners now face is how to continue education without being able to ask learners to come to school until such time as schools reopen.

There was a call for educational websites, especially those for institutions, to be zero-rated at the top of lockdown. Yesterday we were shocked to learn that a High School on the West Rand of Johannesburg, Krugersdorp High School, had received word that its website would not be zero-rated.

The school has been using a digital platform known as Moodle to upload lessons on its website for learners to access, but as the website hasn’t been zero-rated, data costs are significant for learners and parents who can’t afford it.

So what did the school do? It got creative.

Moving forward, parents will be able to drive into the school and either submit their child’s work physically or download work to do remotely.

This is being accomplished with the school’s WiFi network so that parents and learners don’t have to incur additional costs to continue learning.

Limitations have been put in place such as only 40 learners at a time being allowed to enter the school to download work. Those in cars may also not exit their vehicles unless they are submitting physical work.

Learners who arrive at the school via taxis will have to enter the school by foot, but as previously mentioned there will be a limit on the amount of learners allowed into the school.

Masks will be worn at all times.

Perhaps the best part of this is that the service is available from 09:00 to 17:00 on weekdays and 08:00 to 17:00 on weekends

Going back to school

Once schools reopen for Matric learners on 1st June, Krugersdorp High School says it will offer learners the option of coming to school or continue learning remotely.

Lessons will be conducted using Microsoft Teams and learners who choose to attend school because they don’t have connectivity or a means to work remotely will be catered to.

Lessons will be presented over Teams or via a PowerPoint presentation and thereafter learners will be able to interact with a teacher remotely.

The school will continue to make use of Moodle, WhatsApp and other platforms to insure that no learner is left behind whether they attend school or not.

With all of this having been said Krugersdorp High School is just one school and with learners needing to get back to schooling, one has to wonder how long zero-rating of websites and solutions for connectivity will take to come to the fore.

While we’ve seen zero-rating of university websites, we feel it pertinent that local service providers don’t overlook the need for school websites to be zero-rated as well.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]