Staff Reporter – The Zimbabwe Daily
Pretoria, South Africa – Contentions are mounting in South Africa’s Education sector on whether schools should remain open or not.
Last month, after a lot of intense consultative meetings with various stakeholders the Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga reopened schools for grade 7 and grade 12 learners.
However, barely a month later after the reopening of schools scores of pupils and teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 with some succumbing to the virus which has now resulted in many teachers’ unions calling for the immediate suspension of all schools.
“We are now amongst the top 6 countries with the highest COVID-19 cases in the world, let’s close schools until the peak has ended,” said the National Teachers Union (NATU).
However, Noncedo Madubedube the General Secretary of Equal Education said closing all schools was not in the best interest of the learners.
“There are 9 million children who rely on the school nutrition program and for most of them that’s the only meal they receive.
Moreso, we did our own survey which showed us that 80 percent of learners want schools to remain open, we can’t have learners sitting idle at home.
However, it’s up to the communities on whether their schools should remain open or not,” said Madubedube.
Education expert, Professor Mary Metcalfe also castigated the move of closing all schools.
“We can’t suspend all schooling for the next 18 months. School governing bodies should work with communities in assessing the readiness of schools,” said Professor Mary Metcalfe.
The Basic Education Minister is expected to issue a verdict on the schooling issue after conducting cabinet deliberations anytime from today.