Unions say teachers' safety must come first

Among other points made, unions said they want the minister to provide a tangible plan on which schools are provided with water.
Among other points made, unions said they want the minister to provide a tangible plan on which schools are provided with water.
Image: paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

Several teacher unions have expressed mixed reaction to the plan to reopen schools on June 1.

Basil Manuel, executive director of the National Professional Teachers Organisation, said they believe it is a good thing that there is some direction on the country's education.

"But now if you consider that the PPEs have only been delivered for the school management team and also not in all schools then we have to deliver for the teachers and then the pupils; it's a tall order and one asks if we are going to manage to do this in a short space of time from now till June 1.

"I think that report is embellished, that is why I want to see independent monitors get in there and give us the real picture on the ground

"Our own intelligence on the ground and our own research show that some of those reports are not necessarily 110% correct, but it's not the minister's fault but whoever is feeding the reports from the provinces, so we will present our findings which should be ready by tomorrow and that will show what teachers are telling us on the ground."

Johannes Motona, president of the Professional Educator's Union (PEU), said they don't have a problem with the statement as presented by the minister Angie Motshekga.

"The issue that lies ahead is the action part of it. We don't want a situation where we are told teachers need to go back to school, but their safety is not guaranteed. We understand the issue of protecting the academic year, but our members' health comes first.

"There are also no clear guidelines on the replacement of teachers. All we are saying is that let all the boxes be ticked before the schools re-open," Motona said.

General secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies Matakanye Matakanye said they want the minister to provide a tangible plan on which schools are provided with water.

"We need to know when the department plans to provide PPEs and how will they observe social distancing and also, the issue of substitute teachers. They need to provide us with a clear plan," he said.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X