By: Collen T Ndobo
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, briefed the nation on the on the state of readiness for the return of the second cohort of grades back to school.
Motshekga announced that Grade R, 6 and 11 pupils are will be returning to school on Monday, 06 July 2020. All grades were initially scheduled to return to schools on Monday with the exception of Grade 4, 8 and 9.
According to Motshekga, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) considered a number of variables, which among others included the rising community infections across the country, and the risk adjusted differentiated approach in dealing with the returning Grades to schools.
“CEM also noted that provinces may be at different levels of readiness for return of Grade R learners. Therefore, CEM agreed that those provinces that are not ready to receive Grade R on 06th July 2020, must provide strategic and realisable plans for ensuring the reincorporation of Grade R learners to schools within, but not later than the end of July 2020.” Motshekga said
She added that the provinces that are ready to receive Grade R learners on Monday can proceed to receive those learners.
Over 2000 teachers of the total number of about 440 000 were infected by the virus and more than 900 schools were closed and reopened since Grade 7 and 12 learners returned to schools on the 08th of June 2020. This is due to a number of factors, including non-compliance with the health, safety and social distancing protocols on Covid-19.
In her address, the minister announced that there are some parents who have decided to keep their children at home during this period. Motshekga advised the parents to apply to Provincial Education Departments for home learning in terms of Section 4 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No.84 of 1996).
“We advised these parents not to go to schools, but rather approach the Provincial Education Departments for help. Schools do not handle applications for home education,” she said. Motshekga added that the department of Education in the Free State has also announced its readiness to receive 58 653 Grade 6 learners and 43 120 Grade 11 learners in the province.