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EC Schools Not Ready For Second Phased-in Reopening Due To COVID-19 Infections, Says MEC Fundile Gade

THE MEC of Education Fundile Gade has asked Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to postpone the second phased-in reopening of schools in the Eastern Cape, saying his province is not yet ready to accommodate more learners due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections.  

This comes after Motshekga announced that 6 million learners are expected to get back to school on July 6 despite rising concerns from parents, teachers’ unions and school governing bodies.

“Our institutions around the villages are becoming more saturated and they cannot work on a one size fits all system,” said Gade. 

“There have been 26 deaths in the education sector due to COVID-19 and 3 of them are children.”

Gade briefed the media on Tuesday morning about preparations for the second phased-in reopening next week.

Last week, more than 200 people tested positive for the virus at Makaula Senior Secondary School in KwaBhaca, formerly Mount Frere.  

The Eastern Cape currently has 26 195 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Thus far, at least 200 schools in the province remain closed. 

Meanwhile, the Public Servants Association (PSA), which represents thousands of educators and administrative staff at schools across the country, has called for Gade to resign.

The organisation told the media on Monday that it was “shocked” by how the department had been handling Covid-19 at schools in the province to date.

Provincial manager for the PSA in Mthatha, Thami Makuzeni, said the MEC had failed to ensure the implementation of safety measures before pupils returned to school.

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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