Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga herself acknowledged that the postponement of schools’ reopening was due to the department’s own poor planning and caused great confusion among principals and learners.
The department revealed Sunday evening, hours before schools for Grade 2 and Grade 12 were due to return that schools would not reopen as planned on Monday. Schools are now expected to open this coming Monday, June 8. The decision, the minister said, was made on the basis of reports received by the minister from various role players on Saturday. These reports showed that many schools have not yet implemented all the safety and health measures to ensure that learners and teachers can open schools.
“Some schools have not yet received water or safety equipment and others have only received it over the weekend. Other schools had to spend all their time changing the curriculum and timetable and could not come up with practical implementation of measures such as social distances. If we had planned better, we would have arranged for support staff to be sent to schools earlier to handle these arrangements. ”
One of the reports presented to the department on Saturday shows that suppliers in some cases had a shortage of supplies for protective equipment such as face makers. “Some suppliers simply could not deliver enough goods on time, which slowed down the process,” the report says.
Motshekga says it is also necessary for schools to reorganize themselves, because the curriculum has been adapted and because more teachers are now needed per grade because fewer learners are allowed per class.
The minister said on the basis of these challenges, the department decided to use next week and eliminate the problems to ensure that schools could open on June 8.
Motshekga says she knows the decision was made very late and that principals on Sunday evening were not yet aware of the decision to postpone reopening schools. “We are also aware of many learners who started traveling to schools in other provinces over the weekend and had to deal with these problems on Sunday.”
Motshekga says the department will do everything possible to ensure that schools can open on June 8. “Poor learners will be hit the worst if we delay the reopening of schools longer, because many learners are unable to learn at home and therefore fall further behind,” says Motshekga.