Education unions and governing body organizations are hoping that the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, will announce (Sunday) that the reopening of schools will be postponed.
This is after five education unions and three governing body organizations agreed during a meeting with the minister on Saturday night – schools are not ready to open.
Dr. Jaco Deacon, deputy chief executive of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas), spoke on Sunday afternoon and during the meeting, the organizations expressed their particular concerns about safety equipment for teachers.
To make matters worse, some 3,500 schools still had no running water earlier this week. In most cases where water tanks were delivered to these schools, the water tanks were not yet connected or filled with water, Deacon explains.
According to Deacon, the school calendar had not been announced by Friday and some schools had not yet received the revised curriculum. This is while others have not received any masks for learners at this stage. Some schools have not even appointed cleaning staff, he explains.
He points out that the dates for the rest of the learners’ return to school were only published in the Government Gazette on Friday. The dates for Grade. 1 and Grade. 2 have not yet been announced. That’s because the department is in a hurry, says Deacon.
The South African Teachers Union (SAOU), in turn, said on Sunday it is unclear whether schools will reopen on Monday as seven of the nine provinces are not ready to receive learners at all tomorrow. The Northern Cape has already indicated that learners in this province will only report a week later.
According to Deacon, Fedsas now requests that schools should not be reopened until they are ready to welcome learners back. “Even though the schools are only delayed by a week, as in the Northern Cape. A week is not going to shatter all the plans of the school system.
“Let’s first make sure the teachers are comfortable, they have sufficient learning material and the schools’ water supply is connected before we open,” Deacon said.
According to Deacon, during the meeting, Motshekga acknowledged that she had also been told in a previous meeting to delay the reopening of schools.
The minister is expected to announce her decision regarding schools at a media conference at 6pm.