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Motshekga To Meet All Basic Education Stakeholders Amid Calls For Schools To Be Shut Down

NYAKALLO TEFU

BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to meet education stakeholders to discuss the devastating impact of COVID-19 on schools and the education system in South Africa.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Motshekga said consultations will be concluded on Friday.

“The purpose of the meetings will be to obtain input on the issues regarding the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to schools,” said Motshekga.

On Tuesday, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) called for schools to be closed during the peak of the COVID-19 infections. 

The teachers union said the health and safety of educators and learners is at risk as the coronavirus peaks, but called for remote learning and teaching to continue online until the peak is over. 

SADTU’s general secretary Mugwena Maluleka insisted: “If we lived in an equal society, we would call off the 2020 academic year. However, that would be unfair for learners from poor backgrounds as independent schools are continuing with schooling.”

Basic Education said it was not the department’s initial plan to meet with SADTU as earlier reported in the media.

“We wish to clarify that the Minister had no planned meeting with SADTU in particular but has made arrangements to meet with all key stakeholders that include school governing body associates and civil society that operate in the basic education sector,” it said.

The department added that engagements will inform the minister’s proposals to the Cabinet at the weekend.  

“Once all the engagements have been concluded an announcement will be made. We wish to restate that the decision to reopen schools was taken by Cabinet after extensive consultation which culminated in the phased approach to the resumption of duty in the sector.”

Schools remain open until further notice, said the department.

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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