Reopen nursery schools or we go to court - Solidarity threaten govt
JOHANNESBURG - Labour union Solidarity's professional guild for social workers and the Schools Support Centre (SSC) said on Thursday they might take the government departments of social development and cooperative governance to court if they did not allow independent and private nursery schools to reopen after a Covid-19 shutdown.
In a statement, the two organisations said they had written to the relevant ministers, Lindiwe Zulu and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma respectively, demanding that clear regulations be announced to determine the opening of the institutions. Failing any response, they would bring an urgent application before the Pretoria High Court.
“During lockdown, the reopening of schools and private nursery schools has caused constant uncertainty among parents, learners and teachers,” said Melanie Buys, head of development at the SSC.
“The regulations clearly allow for the phasing in of Grade R learners and learners in the lower grades. However, these regulations only apply to schools registered with the department of education and, as such, private nursery schools that fall under the department of social development are excluded”.
The occupational guild and the SSC said private nursery schools should also be allowed to resume teaching on July 6 together with the other nursery schools, arguing that children of all ages had a right to basic education.
Sector head for Solidarity’s occupational guild for social workers Marisa Engelbrecht said barring these schools from opening would not only deny children of their rights, but also those of workers at those schools who would not be able to earn an income.
"The service they provide is of crucial importance for the development of young children who benefit from the educational stimulation they get at these schools and denying them this stimulation can have far-reaching consequences for their school careers," she said.
The guild and SSC said many parents of young children were returning to work as the government eased restrictions under a nationwide lockdown imposed from March 27 to slow down Covid-19 transmissions.
In this respect, they argued, nursery schools provided an essential service to parents as far as the provision of day care was concerned.African News Agency