POLL | Will you send your children to school in June?

Grade 7 and 12 pupils are set to return to school on June 1 - will they be safe?
Grade 7 and 12 pupils are set to return to school on June 1 - will they be safe?
Image: iStock

Learners in grades 7 and 12 are expected to resume their academic year as of June 1, following a two-month lockdown.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday said she felt strongly that children must return to school.

“For the past four months, kids have been growing up without structure. Schools give them a structure: they wake up in the morning, wash, get taught for two or three hours, are fed, and go home with lots of homework. That’s what is good for children,” she said.

She also quoted a Unicef framework on reopening schools, which states that keeping children out of school for too long results in some dropping out for good.

“Disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child's ability to learn. The longer marginalised children are out of school, the less likely they are to return.”

While acknowledging the anxiety of parents who fear for the safety of their children, the minister admitted that she “cannot guarantee” the safety of all learners.

“Guaranteeing [whether or not] people are safe, it is a very difficult one. We are doing everything in our power to protect everyone,” she said.

She said parents who wish to keep their children at home for longer were at liberty to do so, but maintained that the department stood firm on its position. 

Motshekga's plan received a mixed response. Some trade unions said it did not inspire confidence, but the ruling party is in full support of the move.