Teachers worried about the return of more learners

2020-Jun-27   08:13

Teachers worried about the return of more learners
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said schools are going to open provided that they meet the necessary health guidelines.
Source: Gomolemo Mothomogolo/Newsnote

- Gomolemo Mothomogolo

As the second phasing in of learners gets closer, teacher unions have raised concern that schools are not adequately prepared to receive more learners on 6 July. The unions have put out a survey to assess school readiness.

The Department of Basic Education said primary school Grades R, 1, 2, 3 and 6 as well as Grade 10 and 11 for high schools are expected to resume academic activities from 6 July.

Executive Director of National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), Basil Manuel, said teacher unions are conducting a survey to assess schools readiness for the second phasing in of learners.

“The teacher unions have asked the principals to complete a survey by this weekend. And that will give us an indication of the readiness of schools,” said Manuel.

Manuel said there were delays by the Education department when there were just two grades returning to school. He said he is concerned about whether schools would receive the pharmaceutical interventions they need.

Professional Educators Unions’ General Secretary, Ben Machipi, said he is not convinced that the department is ready to integrate the second group of learners.

“The Department of Basic Education should be ready because they are the ones who determine the dates. But typical of the Department of Education they will determine the dates and then leave much to be desired,” Machipi said.

He said learners that will be affected the most are in the rural areas while schools in urban areas will be ready to receive learners.

But briefing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said schools are going to open provided that they meet the necessary health guidelines.

“For the internal grade we made sure that we trimmed down the curriculum and we will link the 2020 academic year with the 2021, so some of the topics are moved to next year. This will also ensure that they don’t miss out on anything they are supposed to learn and we will salvage what we can salvage,” said Motshekga.

PEU has warned that as more learners return to school there would be a greater risk of infections and the recovery plan might be disrupted by the temporary closure of schools.

NAPTOSA said the department of health needs to give a clear advise on the school reopening as the country is expected to hit the COVID-19 peak between July and September.

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