Teacher unions in the Northern Cape have welcomed the provincial education department’s decision to delay the reopening of schools for Grade 7 and 12 learners to June 8. The department took the decision after it was found that schools were not ready to welcome both teachers and learners back.
It conducted school inspections on Wednesday, which found that schools are not clean, Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) are yet to be delivered, water points are not installed and ablution facilities are not ready.
The Professional Educators’ Union’s Neo Letsholo and the Suid Afrikaanse Onderwyser Unie provincial secretary Henk Brand believe this is the best decision based on the prevailing circumstances.
In the video below – schools for learners with special needs prepare to reopen on Monday
Provincial Education MEC Mac Jack says the extra time will allow schools to prepare more thoroughly for the province’s 36 000 grade 7 and 12 learners.
“There was no way I could take a decision from my office. I said let me go and you were there where we discovered that we are far from being ready. I cannot compromise on the health and the safety of our learners, teachers and everyone else who is in the department.”
Teachers are expected to return to schools on June the third. However, unions have warned that if schools are not adequately prepared, they will advise their members not to report for duty.
The return of KwaZulu-Natal and South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) affiliated North West teachers have also been delayed.
Earlier on Thursday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expressed confidence that schools will be fully cleaned, sanitised and prepared for learners to return by June 1.
She said Personal Protective Equipment will also be delivered to schools before learners return.
Motshekga was speaking while checking the readiness of schools to reopen in Pretoria.
More details on the Minister’s schools readiness inspection in the video below: