Rallying behind Minister Angie Motshekga and the Department of Basic Education (DBE)

Minister Angie Motshekga and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) thanks everyone - individuals, companies and NGOs – who have answered the call to be part of the comprehensive COVID-19 Learners’ Support Package.

Details of this package are available on the department’s website www.education.gov.za.

Since the national 21-day lockdown took effect on March 27, these partners enabled the DBE collective to maintain a reasonable level of continuity of education during these trying times. These valued partners continue to make it possible for South Africans to observe the national lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring that learning and teaching carry on.

Examples of these partners are the United Nations’ Children's Fund (UNICEF), National Association of Social Change Entities in Education (NASCEE), Heartlines, DG Murray Trust, CovidComms SA, Zenex Foundation, Old Mutual, First Rand, SABC, DSTV, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell-C. More partners are coming on board daily and the DBE cannot thank them enough for demonstrating the true South African spirit of ubuntu to safeguard the right of our children to uninterrupted education.

Several NGOs are playing their part as well, including:

  • JET Education Services is commissioning nine educational research projects related to Covid-19, covering pertinent questions such as how to govern education institutions and exploring innovations in disaster situations.
  • Zenex Foundation has activated its international networks to gather lessons on how other education funding partners and systems are responding to the pandemic.
  • The Social Change Entities in Education (NASCEE) and the Centre for the Advancement of Mathematics Education (CASME) are curating resources for remote and online learning.
  • The Programme for Improving Learning Outcomes (PILO) is working with the churches and teacher unions to spread the COVID-19 prevention messages.

Thanks to the support of these partners and many others, the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and DBE have jointly set up three teams to drive the national education response, namely:

  1. Communications and dissemination team, to establish and operationalise an agile, extensive communication strategy to 13 million learners, their parents and teachers through the nine provincial departments, 75 districts, 980 circuits and close to 25 000 schools.
  2. Content and production team, for the curation and production of relevant content, materials and platforms to disseminate such to all learners and teachers.
  3. Partnerships and resourcing team, to establish and activate partnerships to support and resource contactless learning, communication and care and support of learners and teachers.

Media partners have helped to facilitate the broadcasting of lessons on SABC TV and Radio, DSTV and on DBE TV – Channel 122. DBE TV is available without subscription on the Openview HD platform and will be on air for at least six months ending September 30. Various community media outlets – including TV, radio and print – have also rallied to keep our children learning during the lockdown. Different mobile network operators have provided platforms to download free electronic readers.

An Interim Steering Committee (ISC) has been set up under the auspices of the NECT to support the implementation of the education response plan. It is comprised of the DBE, the NECT and representatives the Old Mutual Foundation, UNICEF, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings and FirstRand. The ISC represents the interests of all involved, ensures swift joint decisions, gather strategic inputs, communicates to the broader stakeholder group and liaises with the Solidarity Fund on the implementation of the education response plan.

No contribution is too small to count; and everyone can still take part to see our children and their parents through this difficult period in our history. Interested partners may write to covidresponse@nect.org.za.


For more information please contact: Mongezi Masilela: Mongezi Masilela, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, +27 12 752 6200, Masilelas@nect.org.za or +27 78 124-8978

© 2019 National Education Collaboration Trust