'Schools won't be ready on June 1', say teachers' unions

Teachers' unions disagree with the plan to resume education on June 1. File photo.
Teachers' unions disagree with the plan to resume education on June 1. File photo.
Image: 123RF/paylessimages

A survey by unions representing education professionals has found that the country is not ready to resume teaching on June 1.

The information was gathered through engagement with school principals across the country between May 16 and 18.

Based on the data collected around the deep cleaning of schools, direct communication with schools on a district level and the supply or availability of water, the unions were not confident about the country being ready on time.

Naptosa, Peu, Natu, Sadtu and Saou collaborated to compile the survey results. Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has announced that matric and grade 7 pupils will return to class from June 1 and the rest of the school year would be gazetted “soon”.

She said the longer schools stayed closed, the higher the risk that pupils may never return.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said in line with the requirements to curb the spread of Covid-19 in schools, not much had been done.

“We don’t think we will be ready by Monday. We wish to make it clear that if PPEs had not arrived at schools and the required cleaning had not taken place when teachers return on Monday, they are not to endanger their lives by entering such schools,” he said.

According to the survey, sampling 9,365 schools, the plan to assure the safety of workers, pupils and parents was shrouded in “vagueness” by the government.

“When for example 79% of the respondents report that they have not received regulations on how to deal with health and safety issues, when 60% report that their circuit manager has not yet been in touch with them, and when 92% of respondents report that offices have not yet been cleaned and sanitised, you know there is a problem.

“But the minister cleverly deflected these real facts by stating that school readiness will progress as we count down to the reopening of schools,” Manuel said.

Most schools that responded to the survey said they did not have enough water for hand washing.

About 92% of schools said offices had not yet been cleaned or disinfected.


In the public interest, most of our coronavirus news isn’t behind our paywall, and is free to read. To support our mission of delivering award-winning, independent local news, subscribe from as little as R45 per month by clicking here.


X