BASIC EDUCATION Minister Angie Motshekga said on Thursday schools which are not ready to reopen by June 1 have been given another extra week to prepare. Schools are expected to reopen in a phased approach from June 1, starting with Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners.
“I am not expecting delays of three months. I am expecting of only a week”, said Motshekga.
Motshekga said provinces like the Northern Cape have reported that some of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will not arrive on June 1 and have therefore asked to reopen on 8 June 2020.
Some schools in the Northern Cape still do not have water taps and those that were reported, were not replaced. In the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, of the 173 schools, about 30 were vandalised and no repairs have taken place.
According to teacher unions and civil society organizations, about 3 500 schools countrywide still have no adequate water.
“They have asked for a week and that is okay as long as they make up for lost time”, said Motshekga.
She said her first priority is the safety of learners and teachers.
“Schools have indicated that the first day of school for learners will be used to ease them back into a school day, which will include an induction, however no teaching will take place”, said Motshekga.
Motshekga visited several schools in Gauteng on Thursday to check the state of readiness for the schools to reopen on 1 June.
“I am comfortable that the countdown is happening and that there is action towards the reopening of schools”, said Motshekga.
Motshekga said the schools she visited on Thursday are ready to start with the academic calendar on Monday.
During the National Assembly’s first hybrid sitting on Wednesday, Motshekga said she understands parents are anxious but said no one will be forced to go to school, but “your anxiety should not prevent other parents’ children” from going to school.
She said her department’s first priority is that schools do not become centres of COVID-19 infections, therefore there are strict protocols and no school will operate if all is not in place.
“PPEs will be provided to all learners and educators as soon as schools are open as all procurement took place in every province, however the costs will be known by provinces and not the national department,” said Motshekga.