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All KZN schools reopen to determine how many pupils were affected by the flooding

From left: KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga together with the department’s officials visit Brettonwood High School in Durban, following floods in the province. Picture: Tumi Pakkies / African News Agency(ANA)

From left: KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga together with the department’s officials visit Brettonwood High School in Durban, following floods in the province. Picture: Tumi Pakkies / African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 20, 2022

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NOMVELO MKHWANAZI

Durban - Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga visited various schools in Durban following the catastrophic flooding in the province last week.

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The minister’s aim was to assess the damage caused by the floods and to meet with the provincial education department.

Motshekga, together with KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, visited Brettonwood High School on Tuesday. She said that they have decided to reopen all KZN schools in order for them to find out how many schoolchildren were affected by the disaster.

“I have had a meeting with the MEC and we agreed on how we will help all the schools that have been affected. As the schools have given us the information, we are working with the department so that we provide schools with textbooks,” said Motshekga.

She understood that not all pupils and teachers would make it to school, but schools would remain open so that the exact numbers of children who are the victims of flooding will be collected by Friday this week.

“Friday is our deadline. I am working with the Minister of Communications so that she can help me with bringing (information on) teachers and children that we cannot reach. We will help all schools to settle down as soon as possible. We are assessing the damages and what is possible under such circumstances,” said Motshekga.

Pupils and Brettonwood High school staff took it upon themselves to help clean the school which is one of the schools that were badly flooded in the KZN province. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

The Department of Education is “more than prepared to help affected schools in every way possible”, she said. They are “bringing alternative ways” to make sure that there is active teaching and learning.

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Motshekga said they have agreed with MEC Mshengu on what to do as the national department, since this matter was now declared a National Disaster.

“We will be bringing professional teams from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and we will bring whatever resources that we have, including textbooks and furniture. There are 101 schools that are still inaccessible, therefore we have a plan to come up with remote learning, provide the learners with tablets if we have to; that is the detail we are working on until Friday,” said Motshekga.

“The DBE is working with schools to identify other challenges besides coming to school. They are aware that some children have lost homes and lost their parents, therefore they will be working with the Department of Social Development to implement a social service plan for social support. All of this should make sense by Friday.

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“School principals are required to compile a list of learners that are in need of school uniforms and clothes. We have started working with iLembe District. We will be providing learners with school uniforms and clothes,” she said.

Pupils and Brettonwood High school staff took it upon themselves to help clean the school which is one of the schools that were badly flooded in the KZN province. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Mshengu confirmed that there were 134 schools that were extensively damaged and said they have allocated millions of rand for the renewal of damaged infrastructure across the province.

“Some R442 million has been set out for the renewal of damaged infrastructure, although we are expecting the figures to go up as we are getting reports daily of damaged school properties.

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“We do understand that not all schools can commence today (Tuesday), but everyone should try to get to school so that we get the exact figures of affected learners as well as teachers. By doing so, our decisions will be based on credible information,” Mshengu said.

Parents and community members are urged to assist damaged schools with mop-ups and cleaning where possible.

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