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KZN floods: put learners’ needs above teaching plans, says education activist

Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited Brettonwood High School in Umbilo in Durban yesterday to assess the extent of the damage at the school after last week’s floods. Hundreds of schools across the province were affected. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO African News Agency (ANA)

Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited Brettonwood High School in Umbilo in Durban yesterday to assess the extent of the damage at the school after last week’s floods. Hundreds of schools across the province were affected. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 20, 2022

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Durban - Education activist Hendrick Makaneta has called on the government to dispatch psychologists and engineers to KwaZulu-Natal to make a critical assessment of the state of readiness for the learners and the schools, after heavy rains and floods have wreaked havoc in the province.

“We will recall that at some point when the floods started, some learners and teachers were locked into a school and could not go out due to flooding. But at the same time, there are learners who lost their homes and loved ones and such learners may not be ready, emotionally, to return to school.

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“We, therefore, plead with authorities that learners and teachers should be given three weeks to stay at home and receive counselling while professionals are busy with assessment for school readiness. Friday is too early for the return of the learners,” Makaneta said.

This comes after Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, together with KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, agreed to reopen all KZN schools in order for them to find out how many schoolchildren were affected by the disaster.

They said schools would remain open so that the exact numbers of children who are the victims of flooding will be collected by Friday this week.

Makaneta added that there is no doubt that the affected learners will fall behind with the curriculum, but their well-being should come first, rather than putting a teaching plan in place.

“In certain instances, there are missing people who have not been accounted for. We can’t disregard such a crisis and carry on without due regard to the missing people. Just today, six more bodies were discovered, in addition to hundreds that have already been declared dead. We are a caring nation, and our love and care should be demonstrated even in these difficult times,” He said.

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