Private schools can justify staying open

children in a classroom

Schools have been a topic of discussion since their reopening on June 8. Picture: Courtney Africa, African News Agency (ANA).

The Department of Education (DBE) has responded to queries about private schools remaining open despite the month-long closure of public schools.

These schools can remain open as they maintain they can keep their learners safe. They also need the fees in order to stay open.

“The situation of private schools has become worse. Some have closed down permanently, teachers retrenched, salaries cut, learners replaced,” the DBE says.

“Private schools say that they are not covered in the relief fund so they depend on the school fees. They have made a case that if another closure happens, it could have a devastating impact on their sustainability.

“For the most part, they indicated that they are able to meet the requirements for safety as their enrolment numbers are low,” said the DBE.

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The National Alliance of Independent Schools Association (Naisa) previously said pupils needed to make up for work lost between March and April. The group had met with Angie Motsheka and agreed that private schools could exercise their own discretion.

 Naisa secretary Ebrahim Ansur said: “There is no blanket decision that covers all independent schools.” This is because independent schools have differences in the students it serves and the location in which they are situated.