Reversing Pandemic Learning Losses: The Launch of the #BackOnTrack Campaign in the Western Cape

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education pandemic

The Western Cape has launched the #BackOnTrack campaign, a massive R1.2 billion educational program aimed at addressing the significant decline in learning outcomes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign aims to improve learning outcomes in the region over the next three years and secure a brighter future for children.

The Challenge

The pandemic’s impact on education is evident, with a study revealing a significant decline in learning outcomes in Mathematics and Reading among learners in Grade 3, 6, and 9. Over half of these learners were unable to achieve basic pass scores in these subjects, which calls for urgent action to address the full-blown learning crisis.

The Response

The #BackOnTrack campaign departs from the traditional ‘business as usual’ approach in schools and offers targeted support to 333 selected schools based on systemic test results. This support extends to an additional 1,100 schools already receiving assistance since 2022.

The program is ambitious, targeting 126,000 learners, 8,980 teachers, and 28,000 parents, in addition to the 310,000 learners and 10,000 teachers already participating in the Foundation Phase, covering all school phases.

The Approach

The #BackOnTrack campaign employs a variety of teaching, learning, and support methods, both in-person and online, to support all stakeholders in learning simultaneously. For example, Grade 4, 7, and 8 teachers will receive targeted support every ten days, while Grade 12 learners will participate in biweekly online sessions with expert presenters across various subjects.

Building Upon Existing Programs

The #BackOnTrack initiative entrenches proven interventions while introducing innovative teaching and learning methods. Successful eLearning platforms, such as the Maths Curriculum Online program in the Foundation Phase, will continue to shape education in the Western Cape, with additional time allocated to Mathematics and Reading within the school day.

The Plan

With a three-year plan in place, the program is designed to adapt based on feedback from participating schools’ principals and teachers. The #BackOnTrack War Room will monitor progress and address challenges every two weeks to ensure the success of the intervention.

The Launch

333 principals and 2,554 teachers have already attended briefing and training sessions, demonstrating an enthusiastic response to the campaign’s launch. The campaign requires continued collaboration and support from all stakeholders to help children get back on track and secure a brighter future.

The #BackOnTrack campaign demonstrates a strong commitment to addressing learning losses caused by the pandemic and has the potential to make a significant positive impact on the lives of young learners in the region.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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