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SAHRC Demands To Know Why Schools Are Not Ready

LUCAS LEDWABA

THE SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) wants the Department of Basic Education to provide information on all schools that are not ready to open and provide effective learning and also give reasons why that is the case.

The commission said on Tuesday it will also request for information on alternative measures instituted to ensure that learners whose schools cannot open under the COVID-19 regulations are not left behind as far as effective learning is concerned.

“The Commission will monitor schools throughout the country to ensure that effective learning takes place and that no learners are unduly disadvantaged by the inability of schools to open and provide learning,” the  SAHRC said in response to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga’s decision to postpone resumption of schooling to June 8.

Motshekga said on Monday that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) received three critical reports  from the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), Rand Water and the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) on the state of readiness for the phased-in reopening of schools. She said based on the 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,” Motshekga said. Grade 7 and 12 learners are expected to return to class on June 8 and teachers who have received PPEs were expected to start work on June 1.

The SAHRC said it “will not hesitate to take necessary measures within its mandate and powers, including litigation, if necessary, to ensure that learners are not unduly deprived of their right to a basic education.”

Motshekga said teachers, whose schools have already received the personal protective equipment, will be expected report for work on 01 June 2020, and prioritize the preparation of their schools to deal with the “new normal” brought about by the Corona Virus.

She also said provinces should finalise all their outstanding deliveries of PPEs to schools, and the outstanding provision of water and sanitation to the schools and that ongoing cleaning of schools should be finalised within the week of 01 June 2020.

“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.”

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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