The National School Governing Body Associations together with teacher unions are calling for the postponement of the reopening of schools.

The call comes after the associations met with the Education Trade Unions, which include SADTU, NAPTOSA, SAOU, PEU and NATU on Friday.

They believe that Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga’s decision for June 1 to be the date for the resumption of classes was premature.

In the video below, Minister Motshekga says schools will re-open for grades 7 and 12:

“Information gained from members of the unions and associations on the ground guided the discussions and led to a unanimous position that the education system, as matters currently stand, is not ready for the re-opening of schools.

Section 28(2) of the Constitution provides that the best interests of children are of paramount importance in every matter concerning children.

Whilst we acknowledge that the right to basic education and the necessity for children to return to schools are extremely important rights and considerations, these considerations cannot trump the best interest principle entrenched in the Constitution,” reads a joint statement from the  National School Governing Body Associations and Education Trade Unions.

The group says most provincial departments have not been able to deliver  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), or at least sufficient PPEs, for all returning SMT members and teachers.

Basic COVID-19 safety materials for learners are also yet to be delivered, despite earlier assurances that they are housed in warehouses in the provinces.

“Many schools have not been cleaned and disinfected as per the direction of the Department of Employment and Labour. Today is the last working day before schools are due to open on Monday. If the PPEs have not been delivered by now, chances are slim that all schools will have them on Monday,” the unions and governing bodies claim.

Below is the statement from the organisations:

 

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Schools in South Africa closed in March after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a State of National Disaster by the President.

Last week, Minister Motshekga announced that schools would reopen in phases as the country moves to Level-3 of the nationwide lockdown on June 1.

Amid a public outcry over concerns that this might be premature and could put children’s lives at risk, the Minister conducted inspections at several Gauteng schools on Thursday and expressed confidence that schools will be ready to resume the academic calendar, come Monday.

Below is the video of the Minister expressing confidence about the reopening of schools: