Department of Basic Education looks at the state of readiness to reopen schools

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our lives. But as prepare to see an ease in regulations, are schools ready to reopen? Can children safely return to their classroom?

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, will be convening a special meeting of the Council of Education Ministers (CEM). The meeting will focus on the progress made towards the reopening of schools.

This will include taking deliveries of the COVID-19 Essentials required as preconditions for the reopening of schools.

Exactly just how ready are schools across the country?

In a meeting held on Monday, May 11, provincial education MECs reported that schools were at various stages of readiness. They also requested more time, as they waited for deliveries of personal protection equipment from suppliers.

“We agreed in our meeting on Monday that one week is needed to finalise outstanding. So, on Monday, May 18, we will reconvene to consider progress made and then report to the public on the state of readiness. A lot of work has happened, and we are happy with the progress reported in the last meeting, but we need confirmation of deliveries that provinces were waiting for,” said Minister Angie Motshekga.

In preparation for school to reopen, the Department of Basic Education adds that it has faced certain challenges. This includes delays in the deliveries in of PPEs, which resulted in the cancellation of contracts. Various provinces had to find new suppliers to deliver the material this week.

The Director-General of the Department of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli, that the implementation of the basic education sector risk-based differentiated approach in reopening schools would be assisted by the President’s address.

“We will convene a special meeting of the heads of education departments from all provinces and the minister will meet with MECs on Monday to discuss the progress made. Thereafter, we will announce to the public. Nobody has experience in managing a crisis of this magnitude, so we follow expert advice, and which is why we need to be extremely careful on how we proceed in every step,” he said.

The Minister will make an address at a media briefing on Monday. This will be after the meeting of the Council of Education Ministers. The exact time will be confirmed in due course.

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