Colin Gwinji, a Grade 12 learner, takes notes - Winter School is still going despite small numbers of students. Mr Johan Smith, a History teacher at Maitland High School, give winter classes to grade 12 learners. File Photo: Matthew Jordaan / ANA
Colin Gwinji, a Grade 12 learner, takes notes - Winter School is still going despite small numbers of students. Mr Johan Smith, a History teacher at Maitland High School, give winter classes to grade 12 learners. File Photo: Matthew Jordaan / ANA

Kids go back to school, adults stay home - the State cannot have it both ways

By Editorial Time of article published May 23, 2020

Share this article:

In just over a week, matric and Grade 7 pupils are due to make their long-awaited return to class in order to avoid losing the entire year.

The rest of the pupils will follow in a phased fashion.

Much still has to be done before June 1; only two provinces have declared themselves ready to return and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga surely wishes she had at least a few more MECs as energetic and proactive as Gauteng’s Panyaza Lesufi.

Basic education, despite the hundreds of millions budgeted for it each year, remains dysfunctional and disparate - not every province is equal and not every classroom is brick and mortar. There are schools with pit latrines and no running water.

We have teachers with co-morbidities. We have many schools that have yet to be sanitised.

Motshekga’s hope for a start to schooling might be a pipe dream then, especially given the department’s continuing battle to deal with the distribution of textbooks to all schools each year, much less delivering critical supplies of personal protective equipment.

And then there are the fears of the parents and the pupils themselves.

For that, the government can only blame itself.

You cannot keep an entire country on perpetual lockdown, one of the strictest in the world, and yet allow children to go back to school.

If the danger of infection is that real, then everyone should remain at home to protect lives. If the danger of infection (and catastrophic loss of life) is not real, then everyone should enjoy the same freedom of association as the children expected back at school.

The same goes for the economy.

As for the continuing punitive and unscientific prohibition on liquor and tobacco, the less said the better.

The government can’t have it both ways. Which one is it?

Share this article:

Related Articles