took a huge toll on South Africa's education system as 1,493 teachers succumbed to the virus this year, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega late on Thursday.
The minister said the 2020 academic year was most challenging due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
"At this point, I also want to acknowledge the fact that during those difficult times we lost almost 1,493 teachers. We lost a number of our workers. We lost a number of district officials, circuit officials," she told a briefing.
Despite this, the 2021 academic year would start on Jan. 25 with teachers and pupils returning to the classroom on Jan. 27.
She said a three-year recovery plan would be implemented to deal with this year's disruptions.
"The unintended learning losses occurred due to extended closure of schools. Remember some of the learners only came in September," Motshega said.
The department couldn't accommodate learners even after they had returned to the classroom. She said grade 12 pupils who completed their yearend examinations last week lost 47 schooling days this year.