Cape Town - The Department of Basic Education does not expect a significant number of teachers to be employed during this period, with only a few cases of schools requiring more classrooms.
This is according to Minister Angie Motshekga, who was responding to a Parliamentary question by DA MP Nomsa Marchesi, who had asked whether more teachers would be appointed across the country to teach the split classes of the different grades during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There will be a few cases where schools will require additional classroom space to accommodate learners. On the whole, there will be no need to appoint additional educators in large numbers to accommodate social distancing,” Motshekga said.
She added that it was not expected that the demand for additional teachers due to social distancing would rise, as the main constraint was the availability of classroom space.
“Schools will use various models to accommodate learners; including alternate times, days, weeks’ attendance, depending on the context of a particular school,” Motshekga said.
The minister said the same number of teachers would be used to teach. The department’s core focus was to maintain the workload of teachers in line with the current regulations and in terms of their conditions of service, she said.
“This will be possible within the context of trimmed curricula and reworked timetables to accommodate social distancing.
“Where educators will be required to work additional hours, it will be within reasonable limits, also taking into account that all extra-curricular activities have been suspended,” she said.
Motshekga also said to address social-distancing protocols during the phasing in and opening of schools, provinces were providing mobile classrooms to schools and were identifying additional spaces inside the school campuses or around the school to address any additional needs for space.
“Provinces are also considering non-infrastructure solutions, which include three schooling models to cater for social distancing,” she said referring to alternate days and alternate weeks.
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said her department was working with civil society, private and international organisations such as Unicef and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to prepare readiness for reopening of schools
“The task team will lead a readiness assessment; the outcome of the assessment will determine the date for reopening,” she said responding to DA MP Alexandra Abrahams.
Zulu noted that early childhood development (ECD) services were provided through non-profit organisations. “There is, therefore, no budget specifically allocated to ECD services to provide personal protection equipment (PPE), except the subsidy to increase access to children whose families are in distress and cannot afford ECD fees.
“The department had requested provinces to use the savings from subsidy for the first quarter to procure PPEs and ensure readiness and compliance,” she said when asked if her department would provide PPE to ECD centres.
She said a task team was in the process of finalising protocols that would guide the reopening of ECD services.