Last night, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that public schools will close for a month and matrics will close for a week.
The president said the decision was not taken lightly and that Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga had consulted with more than 60 education stakeholders to come to this decision.
Public schools will close for a month from Monday, July 27, returning on August 24 and Grade 12 learners and their teachers will close for a week, returning on August 3. Grade 7 learners will return to school in two weeks, returning on August 10.
He added that the current academic calendar would be extended beyond 2020.
“What everyone agrees on is that the health, academic and socio-economic welfare of the learners must be our foremost concern. The World Health Organisation argues for a balanced consideration for the child and the disease,” he said.
“The best and safest ways to reopen schools are on the basis of low community transmissions,” he added.
Ramaphosa assured the country that the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) will continue providing children with daily nutritious meals during the period of schools being closed, with parents or pupils allowed to collect food from schools.
He also apologised to pupils and parents for closing schools again, and said the government acknowledged that the move would cause inconvenience for many families.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the government is putting teacher unions before schoolchildren, and that this decision to close public schools will result in further inequality between private and public schools.
The Congress of South African Students National (Cosas) said “education is not for sale” and that Covid-19 has exposed the inequalities in education.
“We will shut down all private schools that remain open. Unlike our president, we will not tolerate arrogance from these schools. We will respond in the most harsh way.
“We hold a high belief that we need to revisit our long-standing call on nationalisation of all schools,” said Cosas treasury-general Michael Mayalo.