Unions in Limpopo concerned about readiness of schools to reopen

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The Professional Educators’ Union and the Saviour Association of School Governing Bodies in Limpopo have questioned whether schools will be ready to open on Monday.

The Basic Education Department says learners of all grades will return to schools from Monday.

The two bodies say they are concerned over the shortage of classrooms for social distancing, teachers with co-morbidities reporting for duty and not enough norms and standards for the purchasing of sanitisers amongst some.

As public schools prepare to welcome back learners, some in the education sector have expressed frustration over the re-opening of schools.

Learners at close to 4 000 public schools are expected to start with the curriculum, under a rotational time table from Monday.

The Professional Educators’ Union says some teachers remain in quarantine, while others have died from COVID-19.

Spokesperson Klass Motlhatlhole says this has left vacancies and resulted in shortages of teachers.

“The other frustration that we will be facing is the issues of the teachers with co-morbidities. These teachers have not been dealt with correctly and we believe the standard operating procedures will have to be followed strictly so that we can save lives nationally. We have an average of 2 000 teachers who have lost their lives and in Limpopo, we believe they have lost 30 more teachers in a week,” says Motlhatlhole.

Discussion on the future of education when schools reopen with Philip von Ziegler:

Meanwhile, others have accused the provincial Department of Education of instructing schools through a circular to purchase sanitizers from the norms and standards fees.

The representative of the Saviour Association of School Governing Bodies, Caiphus Moshutla says schools will not be prepared to open.

“The reason I am saying no is because I just heard also that the schools should buy sanitiser. What about the school that hasn’t got enough money? According to the rules of the school, so I am having a real challenge that’s why these people they did not even communicate to us before they can even come up with the idea that we can question some other things before they even issue the circular,” says Moshutla.

Education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene says they are ready to start the 2021 academic year.

“We’ve received reports on the roll-out of the national school nutrition programme, learner transport, admission of unplaced learners, provision of COVID-19 health and hygiene essentials, delivery of textbooks and stationery packs, school furniture, water and toilets amongst other things and thus far indications are that almost all our schools will be ready to start with the academic year on Monday,” says Chuene.

The department says 151 teachers have succumbed to COVID-19 complications. Chuene says processes to redeploy teachers where there is excess staff have also begun.

Education activists concerned about reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic: