Union raises concern on rural schools' state of readiness

The Union said provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape were still receiving personal protective equipment packages in dribs and drabs.
The Union said provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape were still receiving personal protective equipment packages in dribs and drabs.
Image: Pixabay

The Professional Educators Union have raised concerns about the state of readiness of the re-opening of schools at three rural provinces on Monday. 

This comes after the meeting the five education unions, South African Democratic Teacher's Union(Sadtu), National Professional Teachers Organisation (Naptosa), South African Teachers Union (SAOU), National Teachers Union (Natu) and Professional Education Union (PEU)  and Federation of Governing Bodies of South Africa (Fedsas) had with Matanzima Mweli the director general of the department of basic education on Thursday evening. 

The meeting was supposed to be held with the minister of education Angie Motshekga together with education MEC's from different provinces but their meeting was shifted for Saturday at 2pm.

According to PEU the express purpose for the meeting was for Mweli to give them a report in terms of progress made in various provinces.

PEU's president Johannes Motona said even though they acknowledged the report presented by Mweli,  provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape were still receiving personal protective equipment packages in dribs and drabs.

"Learners are meant to go back to school on Monday but most schools have not yet received masks for learners. There is also the issue of shortages of water tankers at most schools and the promise was that they will be delivered this week and tanks will be taken to school over the weekend and it's only two days left before the re-opening," Motona said.

Motona said the teachers were still anxious as things were not as they were supposed to be. 

"During the meeting Mweli indicated that cleaning in all provinces was completed but in some provinces the way deep cleaning was done was not up to the required standard. On the issue of  vandalised schools he said he had a meeting with the heads of infrastructure so that they can see how to deal with the issue whereas on Monday learners are expected back to school. One can see clearly that things have not been done with the required speed necessary," Motona said.

Motona said at this stage they can't really say things are as they are supposed to be.

"Mweli said the department had promised to fill all the vacancies and for teachers with cormobilities a collective agreement has been signed by labour and the department on the protocols that have to be followed. We are also worried about how will the department gather information of teachers who are testing positive so that they can be able to get necessary support in helping those schools and in making sure that they get substitute teachers," Motona said.  

Motona said even though Mweli told them that screeners and cleaners were going to be appointed for all schools  through the education infrastructure grant he did not communicate when this will be done.

Motona said they were concerned that even though the curriculum was being amended the teachers had not started going for workshops as required. "

The school calendar has not yet been published, we are requesting the department to expedite the publishing of the school calendar because the days that have been published in the gazette are only opening dates we want to know how is the school calendar going to unfold going forward so we are still waiting for the meeting on Saturday," he said.

He said it could have been lovely to have a meeting with the different MECs so that they could be able to present their province's progress on the re-opening of schools. 

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