Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that schools will close again for four weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic has provoked fierce criticism.
Pres. “Ramaphosa has bowed the knee to the almighty education unions, especially Sadou, who do not have the best interests of learners at heart,” said DA leader John Steenhuisen in response. “This is not leadership. Pres. Ramaphosa behaves like a ‘spectator president’ and takes orders from the powerful interest group that threatens him the most. ”
The decision is not based on the best available evidence, it is not supported by education experts nor is it substantiated by data on the virus. “The scientific evidence is that schools do not expose learners and staff to greater risk than anywhere else. Closing schools will have a devastating effect on children for years to come. This will exacerbate inequality in our society. The school year will be further disrupted and could be completely jeopardized. ”
According to Steenhuisen, this will result in many learners leaving school or falling so far behind that they can never catch up on schoolwork again. “School feeding schemes will be further jeopardized. Schools will be vandalized. As education is endangered, poverty will increase along with the suffering and loss of life that accompanies it. ”
Pres. Ramaphosa was also slammed for the lack of important details in his speech which means parents are in the dark and unable to plan properly for the next four weeks.
“After the four-week school closures, the virus will still be there. What happens then? “The decision of the ANC government to close schools has nothing to do with ensuring the safety of children or teachers, but has everything to do with ensuring the survival of the ANC and its incompetent state.”
Flip Buys, chairman of the Solidarity Movement, also believes that children have been sacrificed for the demands of radical education unions. “There is no research that shows that closing schools is in the best interests of the child. However, the opposite has been proven time and time again. The unions were simply reckless. There is a direct connection between Sadou’s demands and these decisions. ”
The Solidarity Movement and the Solidarity School Support Center (SOS) will seek comprehensive legal advice as there can be no guarantee that the reasons for the closure will change within four weeks. “There must be a rationale for introducing regulations, but also for amending them. The rationale cannot be the demands of unions. The current regulations stipulate that schools that are safe must remain open. It is in the best interests of the child. ”
Globally, it shows that the closure of schools does not slow down the infection rate, transmission to and from children is low and symptoms are usually mild, Buys believes. “The decision on matrics is wise. Simple open and closed decisions can not work. Provinces, regions and even residential areas’ infection rates differ. The Northern Cape cannot be compared to Gauteng. Schools and families must be able to make decisions according to their unique circumstances. Governing bodies are the elected bodies from the school community and must make the decisions. ”
The closure of schools cannot be considered in isolation and has devastating consequences for governing body posts and the education sector as a whole. “When the economy is open and the schools close, it puts children and parents in unsustainable situations. Unsupervised children are more exposed to the coronavirus and numerous other risks. With each closure of schools, more children fall out of the system with lifelong consequences. ”
The SOS also believes that Sadou appears to be firmly in charge of education in South Africa.
Melanie Buys, head of development at the SOS, says that the SOS will study the new Covid-19 measures to determine whether public schools still have the right to reopen sooner for more grades, if they are ready to do so safely. do, as is currently the case.