Decision to close schools remains in state of limbo

empty classrooms

The Department appealed to SGBs to refrain from taking matters into their own hands. Picture: African News Agency (ANA).

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga is yet to announce the outcome of her meeting with Cabinet over the weekend, which was meant to determine if schools will close during the Covid-19 peak.

Negotiations between five top South African teachers’ unions resolved that schools should close with immediate effect.

The meeting, which started on Friday, was held to assess the situation at schools since the return of pupils from Grade 12, 11, 7, 6 and Grade R in several provinces.

Union leaders were still awaiting Motshekga’s response to their demand for all schools to be closed.

Learners from the remaining grades were scheduled to return to school today, but several provincial education departments suspended the phasing in of more grades.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a circular was being shared by parents from the provincial education department informing education management, including principals and school governing bodies, that it had suspended the phasing in of more grades. 

“The Minister specified a number of other Grades that should be phased-in on July 20, 2020. This circular is therefore issued as confirmation that no additional Grades should be phased-in during the month of July until schools are formally directed by the Head of Department (Dr Vusumuzi Nzama),” read the circular signed by Dr Nzama.

The Limpopo Department of Education has suspended the return of grades 3 and 10, and has deemed it preferable, after careful consideration of all key variables in the phasing in of more grades.

On Saturday, Motshekga’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga dismissed reports stating that President Cyril Ramaphosa had ordered Motshekga to cancel schooling.

“There is news of our President calling on Minister Angie Motshekga to cancel the school year. That is not true, please do not fall prey to fake news. 

“When in doubt check the source, and confirm the news via reputable news sites,” Mhlanga said in a statement.