The Department of Basic Education has expressed concern over its capacity to commence with the marking of examinations on Monday, due to the loss of many teachers to COVID-19.

More than 1 600 teachers have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications since the pandemic hit the country in March.

The department’s Director-General Mathanzima Mweli says this could affect the 2021 academic year which is scheduled to start on January 27.

He says the concern is that the remaining teachers will withdraw their services to mark examinations out of fear of contracting the virus.

“We are gravely concerned that it might impact on major national tasks, marking is one of them … we [are] starting next Monday. Although the majority of them are from primary schools but we are concerned that the impact of it might lead to some of the teachers reconsidering offering their services.”

“Coming to the re-opening of schools, I think provinces might struggle to immediately fill those posts that have been vacated by these teachers. KZN has been the hardest hit so far, which means that as we reopen schools on January 25, for teachers and school management teams, it might be difficult for some of the provinces to immediately fill those posts,” explains Mweli.

Below is full interview with the department’s Director-General Mathanzima Mweli: