Learners must report back to school on 8 June - Basic Education Department
Cape Town – The country was left in a state of confusion on Sunday regarding the resumption of learning for Grade 7 and 12 learners after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga postponed a much-anticipated address that was meant to provide clarity.
Instead the Department of Basic Education released a statement saying that the date on which learners have to report back to school is June 8, 2020.
“This whole coming week must be used for the proper orientation and training of teachers, the mopping and ramping of all supply chain matters, and final touches to the readiness of each facility for the arrival of learners,” the department said.
According to the statement released after the last-minute postponement of Motshekga's press briefing from Sunday at 6pm to Monday 11am, the Council of Education Ministers met on Saturday to assess the state of readiness for the reopening of schools.
“CEM received a report from the consortium of service providers coordinated by the National Education Collaboration Trust on the External Evaluation and Monitoring of the state of readiness. Rand Water, as an Implementing Agent delivering water to 3 500 schools, also presented its report. The Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) also presented its technical report.
“All three reports converged on the fact that a substantial number of schools would not be ready for the reopening tomorrow, albeit tremendous progress had been made by most provinces, which overall reflected 80% state of readiness.
“CEM was concerned that, in some provinces personal protective equipment for learners in particular, had not been received; and some schools had not been made ready for the arrival of teachers and learners,” reads the statement.
The Department said CEM then took decisions which have since been shared with teacher unions, school governing body associations, independent schools’ associations, the SA Human Rights Commission, Principals Association, SA National Association for Specialised Education, and other stakeholders and meetings took place in which they shared the outcome of the reports and the proposed course of action.
“CEM took informed decisions to have schools to continue to reopen on June 1, 2020, but with school management teams, teachers and non-teaching staff only arriving to prepare for the arrival of learners. Provincial and district officials should ensure that health, safety, and social distancing requirements, are strictly adhered to when teachers arrive.
“This whole coming week must be used for the proper orientation and training of teachers, the mopping and ramping of all supply chain matters, and final touches to the readiness of each facility for the arrival of learners.
“The date on which all learners have to report back to school, is the 08 June 2020.
“We have however received reports that indicate that some learners in boarding schools have already arrived. We urge the schools to continue with orientation of the learners in terms of the health and safety procedures that should be in place," said the Department.
However, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said schools in the province would be open to receive learners on Monday.
"Following the national minister’s earlier announcements, we have pulled out all the stops as a province to ensure that we are ready for the arrival of learners tomorrow. Principals and staff have worked tirelessly to get all the health and safety requirements in place," Schafer said.
"Given these preparations, and the enormous effort put in by teachers and non-teaching staff alike, it would be unfair to delay all schools from re-opening.
"There will also be some schools that do not receive learners tomorrow, either because they are not at a suitable state of readiness in terms of safety protocols, or they are closed for cleaning if there has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 at the school. These schools will communicate with their staff members and parents of learners in this regard," Schafer said.IOL