The impact of COVID-19 on a fragile education system: the case of South Africa

SOURCE: Primary and secondary education during Covid-19
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2021
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.Soudien, V.Reddy, J.Harvey
SOURCE EDITOR(S): F.M.Reimers
KEYWORDS: COVID-19, EDUCATION, SCHOOLS
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 12141
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/16584
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/16584

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Abstract

This chapter provides a critical look at what COVID-19 meant for the education sector in South Africa. It documents the path of the pandemic in the education space to understand its effects and the short-term responses of the education system. It begins with the premise that the South African educational system is structurally fragile. Its fragility arises out of the injustices of the apartheid system which disadvantaged schools and learners. It argues that the country has made progress in dealing with this legacy but that the drivers of change, such as improved household incomes, improved access to school materials and better nutrition, have come under strain in recent times. Because of COVID-19, the upward social mobility of low-income communities is growing in precarity while inequalities are exacerbated.