Basic education minister Angie Motshekga speaks at an announcement of the names of matriculants awarded with Wits university equality scholarships in Johannesburg, Thursday, 30 January 2014. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga speaks at an announcement of the names of matriculants awarded with Wits university equality scholarships in Johannesburg, Thursday, 30 January 2014. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Minister Motshekga must address vaccine roll out for the education sector – Naptosa

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Jun 18, 2021

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The National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said it is expecting Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to address the roll-out of vaccines for the education sector during the school holiday.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said: “That is the plight of the primary focus looking deeply at the structure of the actual roll-out because people are worried as South Africans are about the ability of the system to manage such a massive roll-out within ten days.”

On Saturday, Motshekga is expected to hold a media briefing where she will be providing an update on the basic education sector’s response to the impact of Covid-19 on schooling.

“The Minister will use this opportunity to address other matters affecting the basic education sector in the context of Covid-19,” the media announcement said.

The briefing will be held at 2pm and will be live streamed.

This briefing occurs as schools will be closing for the second term and reopening in about two weeks for the third term. Motshekga had urged school attendance for primary schools from the third term onwards.

At the moment South Africa is facing a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with over 11 000 new cases being reported on Thursday with 100 deaths

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also moved the country to lockdown level three which includes having gatherings reduced to about 50 people, alcohol being sold from Monday to Thursday and the curfew being moved to 10pm till 4pm.

Manuel said another key issue that Motshekga is expected to touch on in her address is the rapid increase of Covid-19 infections in schools.

The EFF has already threatened to close down schools if the DBE does not due to the third wave.

A South African online media house quoted EFF leader Julius Malema as saying: “Schools must close and they must close with immediate effect because our children are going to die. We give the minister seven days to close schools. Failure to do so, and we'll have to close schools ourselves”

Manual said unions were in support of the reopening of schools, only if vaccination roll-out is done.

“There are concerns, and I know that in Gauteng specifically, our parents are extremely jittery as much as we are in favour of keeping learners at schools as the union because we are worried about high school youngsters being let loose to the streets they will be socialising even though the movement of people will be limited there are issues,” he said.

In so far as primary schools are concerned, Manuel said at least by the end of July teachers should all be vaccinated and children are not as infectious as adults.

“We are worried about when coastal provinces hit, as interior provinces will be over the peak by then.We would have to look at a differentiated approach for these provinces .

“We are not advocating for closing schools for any protracted period, but if there has to be a closure it must be a shifting of the holidays – then we can deal with that more effectively,” he said.

Lastly, he said the matric loss of school time when they were in grade 11 also has to be addressed as teachers are battling to cover all work for the two years.

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