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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Unfazed By Criticism From Teacher Unions, Motshekga Confirms Schools Were On Track To Begin Phased Reopening on June 1


Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga notified the Council of Education Ministers on Monday that preparations for the reopening of schools on June 1 for Grade 7 and 12 were on track.

Motshekga said that this week would be dedicated to mopping up and finalizing all outstanding matters before learners return to school.

She said CEM has agreed that provinces should intensify the preparation towards 1 June reopening of schools.

“Having adopted the “just-in-time” approach, the focus would be to ensure that all health and safety requirements are prioritized,” she said.

These includes learner transport, water provision, basic hygiene and sanitation, psycho-social support and the recruitment and appointment of screeners and cleaners.

 Last week, CEM decided that School Management Teams (SMTs) and teachers would return to school as from May 25 to finalise preparations ahead of the school reopening on 1 June 2020 for Grade 7 and 12.

CEM noted that even though some schools had not yet received their safety material, progress in the cleaning of schools and deliveries of PPEs was taking place.

Provinces were continuing to send evidence of the work being done, according to the CEM.  

CEM agreed that by Thursday morning the final report would be received and would indicate further progress made and identify other challenges that needed attention.

However, on Monday, Inside Education reported that over 65% of teachers, including principals and school management teams, did not show up at schools on 25 May 2020, following calls by teachers’ unions to stay away over coronavirus fears and lack of personal protective equipment in provinces.

CEM has also agreed that by Thursday this week the final report would be received and would indicate further progress made and identify other challenges that needed attention.

While work is being done, the CEM said it was also disturbed by the vandalism which was continuing to happen across the country.

In KwaZulu-Natal two schools were broken into and the entire consignment was stolen.

In Soweto two people were allegedly killed by members of the community after attempting to break into a school where deliveries of COVID-19 essentials had just been made.

“We appeal to members of the community not to take the law into their own hands. Communities must protect schools against vandalism but must ensure at all times that violence does not occur.  We request that the community should rather work with the police to bring suspected perpetrators to justice, “said Motshekga.  

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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