Teacher unions in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have cast doubt on the province’s readiness for schools to re-open on the 1st of June.
The Department of Basic Education is proposing a phased return of leaners, starting with grades 12 and 7.
KZN has the highest number of learners in the country, with close to three million in both public and private schools.
The Department of Education is optimistic that all logistical and essential COVID-19 materials will have been provided to all schools come the re-opening date.
“The department has promised to use the weekend to deliver at schools we are looking forward to that. If the department is able to deliver then our teachers will have to go back as it has been agreed. But we doubt that by Monday the KZN department will be ready to have schools reopen. There will be a need for additional teachers to be appointed,” says Nomarashiya Caluza, SADTU Provincial Secretary.
The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools says they support the reopening of schools provided that the Department of Education puts in place all safety precautions.
“So it is necessary to bring the children into the school so that you can teach them there why social distancing is important. All those things need to be taught to children in a controlled environment and it is much better to do it in school than at home. For that reason it will be in the best interest of the children to start opening the schools as soon as possible, provided there is safety for everybody,” says Paul Colditz, CEO.
Meanwhile, the KZN Department of Education says it has started putting in place the resources that will be required when the schools reopen.