SA lockdown: Mixed reaction to phased reopening of schools

Education specialist Professor Mary Metcalfe said that reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require decision-makers to take collective and personal responsibility.  

JOHANNESBURG - Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will be briefing the public on the preparations for the reopening of schools on Tuesday evening.

There have been mixed reactions to the basic education department's phased reopening plan.

Unions and some community sectors are against the reopening.

They say the department isn't complying with occupational health and safety regulations.

READ: Reopening of schools in question

Education specialist Professor Mary Metcalfe said that reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require decision-makers to take collective and personal responsibility.  

"I think that what we all need to understand is that this virus is going to be with us for the next couple of years," she said.

"And what it requires is that we all take personal and collective responsibility to be safe ourselves and to look after others.

"The unions and the minster have both said very clearly that schools need to be ready."

Metcalfe said every school needs to have PPE and sanitisation in place before they can even begin to think about physical distancing or new timetables.

READ: SA lockdown: Schools to remain closed in May

"That responsibility to have everything in place is primarily within the framework of the employer.

"But what we need is for the union and communities at school level to come and say to the schools: How can we help."

Education expert Nicky Roberts said Motshekga’s biggest challenge will be that not everyone will be happy with whatever she has to say.

"In managing a national system, there’s a whole lot of things to consider. Our schools are very different from each other. What might work for an urban school could fall flat in a rural area," said Roberts.

READ: COVID-19: Education unions unhappy with department

Unions have cautioned against rushing teachers and pupils back to school.

They say the agreed date for the return of management teams is 18 June, but the department wants schooling to resume at the beginning of next month.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools called on the department to prioritise the safety of pupils when making decisions to reopen schools.

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Education expert from the University of Johannesburg Nicky Roberts joins us now for some insight ahead of the Tuesday briefing on school readiness by the Minister of Basic Education Dr Angie Motshegka. Courtesy of #DStv403

Source
eNCA