We postponed re-opening of schools because most schools were not ready - basic education minister Motshekga

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Image: GCIS/Kopano Tlape

The minister of basic education Angie Motshekga said she was forced to postpone the re-opening of schools because most schools were not ready. 

Motshekga was briefing the media on Monday on the state of readiness for the re-opening of schools. 

Motshekga said on Saturday the Council of Education Minister (CEM) received three critical reports – the first, on the state of readiness from a research consortium coordinated by the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT); the second, on the state of delivery of water tanks and water supply by Rand Water; and the third, a technical report from the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) on the state of readiness for the phased-in reopening of schools.

"Based on these reports, it became clear that the sector was at different levels of readiness.  In the main, it was for this reason that the CEM determined that the sector requires more time to mop-out its state of readiness for school reopening, in order to comply with the health and safety standards on Covid-19. CEM resolved that," Motshekga said. 

Motshekga said it was critical that parents do not bring the grade 7s and 12s learners to school on Monday as the sector agreed that they will re-open next week Monday. She said teachers, whose PPEs have been delivered, were expected to report for work, and carry out the responsibilities she have already spelled-out.

"Provinces should finalise all their outstanding deliveries of PPEs to schools, and the outstanding provision of water and sanitation to the schools. The ongoing cleaning of schools should be finalised within the first week of June. All teachers and support staff should be inducted and orientated for the new environment brought about by the Covid-19. In return, the teachers should induct, orientate and counsel the learners, who have already arrived at the schools, to deal with the new Covid-19 environments," Motshekga said.

Motshekga said the CEM decisions have since been shared with teacher unions, national school governing bodies associations, the principals’ association, NGOs responsible for learners with special needs, assessment bodies, associations of independent schools, and other stakeholders with a direct interest in basic education. 

She said parents and guardians, must not send learners to a school, if the learners show any of the coronavirus symptoms.

  "The screening of symptoms must be conducted at offices or schools according to the department of health guidelines. We have since made these available to schools; and we urge all teachers and relevant officials to familiarise themselves with the health guidelines," she said.

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