State of readiness for school’s reopening under spotlight

SEKHUKHUNE – The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) said it noted that even though some schools had not yet received their safety material, progress in the cleaning of schools and deliveries of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) was taking place.

The CEM met on Monday, 25 May 2020, to consider progress on the reopening of schools after its decision last week that School Management Teams (SMTs) and teachers would return to schools as from Monday, 25 May 2020 in finalization of preparations ahead of the school reopening on 1 June 2020 for Grades 7 and 12.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, last week said that the 25th to 29th May 2020 would be used as a countdown to the reopening of schools. Having adopted the “just-in-time” approach, the focus would be to ensure that all health and safety requirements are prioritised. That includes learner transport, water provision, basic hygiene and sanitation, psycho-social support and recruitment and appointment of screeners and cleaners.

However, various teacher unions stood against the reopening of schools on 01 June citing reasons that the decision was taken hastily and some that schools were not ready to reopen on the said date.

According to the CEM provinces were continuing to send evidence of the work being done and the CEM agreed that by Thursday, 28 May 2020, the final report would be received and would indicate further progress made and intensify other challenges that needed attention.

The council welcomed the appointment of the National Education Collaboration Trust consortium to monitor and confirm that all schools complied with the preconditions for the reopening of schools in the context of the Coronavirus environment.

The consortium will conduct an independent audit of the work provinces are doing as part of the preparations towards the reopening of schools. It comprises the Human Science Research Council (HSRC), plus 94 Research, Entsika Consulting and New Leaders Foundation.

The minister will this week sign directives that address various matters that include the issuing of travel permits for education purposes, Grade 12 examinations, safety measures, and mass events in schools.

The council further said it was disturbed by continued vandalism of schools prevalent in some parts of the country.

Thapelo Motseo

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