Schools Are Not Ready To Open, says Union

With schools reopening soon and no word from the Department on it being pushed back yet, National Teachers' Union believes that schools are not ready to open yet with concerns about teachers being raised as well.

With schools set to open in less than a month and South Africa being in a dreadful state with the second Covid wave, National Teachers' Union believes that schools are not ready to open yet with concerns about teachers being raised as well.

Over 1600 teachers have died as a result of Covid-19. 

There has been no changes announced when it comes to the date for schools to reopen as the current school calendar shows it to be 27 January. 

National Teachers' Union (Natu) secretary, Cynthia Barnes, said:

The National Teachers Union is not really happy that the schools are opening soon because if you look back, in 2020 there were some negotiables that were put forward that should be followed but only to find that some of them were not followed.

Schools were supposed to have PPEs ready but the quantity and quality was said to not be up to standard. Sanitation and water supplies to schools were also not delivered.

Barnes says that social distancing will never be adhered to because schools are clustered and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) were supposed to provide mobile classrooms but didn't for all schools. 

In addition to this, schools faced overcrowding and frequent cases of Covid-19 infections. 

"We understand the department doesn't have money so are they going to have money now? They need to go back and look at the hiccups they had in 2020," said Barnes. 

Unions have also not been given plans for the 2021 school year or when it comes to teachers with comorbidities.

The curriculum needs to be implemented due to cuts made to it but teachers have not been orientated with no word on when it will happen. The department trimmed the 2020 curriculum after losing 5 teaching weeks during the lockdown. 

The Department is not yet ready. Schools are not yet ready to be open ... We need something written in black and white to say this is the plan we have made and this how we are going to have everything.

DBE Minister Angie Motshekga said public schools will spend the next 3 years catching up with the content trimmed from the curriculum. 

Natu hopes to negotiate with the department in order to come to an agreement that will keep both learners and teachers safe. 


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