The funding of two teaching posts at L.R. Schmidt Primary School, in the historical village of Genadendal, close to Greyton, has continued. The financial support by Klipheuwel Wind Farm for a Remedial Teacher and Arts, Crafts and Entrepreneurial Skills Teacher, began in 2016 and is continuing despite school closures due to COVID-19, and has been extended to supply safety masks for learners and teachers.
Mr Speelman, Principal at L.R. Schmidt Primary School explained that the lockdown has been very difficult, especially the financial impact and uncertainty of teacher income, with pressure on the schools to ensure employees of a continued salary during the pandemic. “During the lockdown period, educators were expected to prepare and distribute activities so that learners could learn at home. Thanks to the funding, I could assure the employees of a salary and that they could provide for their families.”
The wind farm supplied over 200 masks, providing a set of three masks for each Grade 7 learner, as well as for members of staff. The handover took place in June, as the Grade 7’s returned to school, according to the Department of Education’s phased approach to the return of learners to school. Luckily, the school hasn’t reported any COVID-19 cases, however, learner anxiety remains and unfortunately the crafts classes weren’t able to resume, due to safety precautions.
In an effort to continue teaching during the lockdown months, limited online learning was used by the school, via a WhatsApp group. Unfortunately, this proved challenging for some, as a number of learners do not have smartphones and some struggle with internet data. The school also printed workbooks for learners to work on while they were at home, to try alleviate this problem.
This school is based in Genadendal, about 30km outside from the wind farm and educates 420 children from Grade R to Grade 7. The remedial class teacher has nearly 30 years of experience and teaches a class of 20 learners who are at Grade 4 stage, but range in ability from Grade R to Grade 3.