Teacher union, SADTU, has rubbished suggestions that teachers should not receive salaries if schools are closed. The union has been calling for the closure of schools, citing high coronavirus infection rates as reason.

In the video below, SADTU calls on schools to close due to rising COVID-19 cases:

With the debate on the closure of schools raging, questions have been raised on teachers receiving salaries while sitting at home. But SADTU’s Mungana Maluleke says this is mischievous.

“We have since noted that there is a debate in the public about the salaries of the teachers. This debate is misplaced, it’s a diversion; this country cannot forget the sacrifices that our teachers are making on a daily basis. There are problems in our schools and we have to make sure our learners are taught in an environment that is safe,” says Maluleke.

Earlier on Sunday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga met with cabinet over the renewed calls for schools to close. Last week, she met with teacher unions and other stakeholders over the matter.

Motshekga is expected to announce her department’s decision on the matter this week.

Unions NAPTOSA, NATU and SADTU are among those calling for the schools’ closure until the COVID-19 peak passes.

National Teacher Union’s (NATU) Allan Thompson says the country’s infection rate alone should convince the Minister to close schools.

“We are worried about South Africa’s rate of infections, now exceeding 300 000, is now in the top six countries in the world with the highest level of infection hence our call that the DBE must consider closing the schools until the peak passes.”

In the video below, unions ask DBE to priorotise the heath and safety of learners:

NAPTOSA’s Basil Williams says there is need for schools to close so that teachers can also come up with ways of recapping on the curriculum and preparing for the changes needed for 2021.

“We are saying that this is not just a holiday, it’s a time for teachers to consolidate and working on not only what follows, but also the curriculum for next year  because certainly there are going to be large gaps in next and we have got to start  attending to the curriculum.”

While state employed teachers are guaranteed a salary, for independent schools, the continuation of schooling is a matter of survival.

The body for independent schools, National Alliance of Independent Schools, has made submissions to Motshekga for a COVID-19 fund to rescue independent schools from collapsing. The body’s Mandla Mthembu says that a numerous independent schools have been forced to let go of teachers.

“The idea that we have is that since government has put together funds of this nature for the taxi industry and for small medium micro enterprises, we feel it would be very helpful if the government can set up a fund like that for independent schools, no fee to medium fee schools in particular. I know the perception is that independent schools are rich schools, privileged, etc. but the contrary is the truth.”

In the video below, is a discussion on the unions’ call for the closing of schools: