Three provinces halt the return of Grade R pupils

Three provinces have opted to halt the return of Grade R pupils to schools.
Three provinces have opted to halt the return of Grade R pupils to schools.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Three provinces have opted to halt the return of grade R pupils. 

Last week the department of basic education announced that grade R as well as grades 6 and 11 pupils would return to school on Monday July 6th. 

Initially the department had included grades 1,2,3 and10 in the back-to-school plan for Monday. 

However KwaZulu Natal, North West and Limpopo provinces have since announced that grade R pupils would stay home. 

KZN head of education department Dr Enock Nzama sent a circular to more than 6,000 schools on Thursday night informing them that grade R pupils should continue to stay at home for now.

Limpopo followed suit with an announcement on Saturday that they too will delay the return of grade Rs. 

Limpopo education MEC Polly Boshielo said their decision was reached after consultation with the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga.

"The provincial department of education considered various aspects which have led to the new date for the return of grade R learners to be July 29," Boshielo said.

"This arrangement does not hinder schools that had already applied and [permitted] to reopen for different grades as per the regulations gazetted and published by the minister of basic education. These regulations allow both public and independent schools to apply for deviation."

Boshielo also said the province was working in line with Motshekga's pronouncement that reopening phases would be based on a risk-adjusted strategy which will take into account all factors that affect the work they do.

North West province said they made a considerable assessment of its readiness and opted to halt the return of Grade R learners.

In the North West,  MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela said their aim was to save lives.

"As the provincial department we opted  to delay  phasing in of grade R learners on the initial [date of] July 6. We considered a gradual phasing in approach by halting the return of grade R learners while Grade 6 and 11 settle in.  This is the safest approach as opposed to the inundation of all three grades at once. By so doing we are continuing to save lives of our learners in adjusting to the new normal," Matsemela said.

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