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Angie to announce today whether schools will be reopened for other grades tomorrow

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An announcement is expected today on whether schools would reopen tomorrow for other grades following marathon meetings between Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and various unions.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File photo: ANA/Jacques Naude

Durban – An announcement is expected today on whether schools would reopen tomorrow for other grades following marathon meetings between Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and various unions. She was expected to consult the Cabinet.

This followed negotiations between five teachers’ unions in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) namely; the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), South African Teachers Union (Saou), National Teachers Union (Natu) and Professional Educators Union (PEU). They have resolved that schools be closed with immediate effect.

The meeting which started on Friday was held to assess the situation at schools since the reopening and the return of pupils from Grade 12, 11, 7, 6 and Grade R in several provinces.

According to the unions, the system wasn’t ready and was under severe pressure, with very low numbers of attendance since the return of the first cohort.

“The scientists have predicted that the virus was reaching its peak and is growing exponentially,” the unions said.

The Council of Education Ministers said on Tuesday that it would be taking legal action against anyone who tried to disrupt schooling. That was after the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) demanded all schools to be shut until the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic was over.

The National Association of School Governing Bodies chairperson Matakana Matakane has also said the association had pleaded for the suspension of classes except grades 7, 9 and 12.

“We felt that something must be done for Grade 12 in rural areas and townships because they do not have e-learning. Grade 7 will be getting to high school next year; therefore, if they remain suspended they will not have information to carry to high school while Grade 9 will be choosing new subjects in Grade 10,” said Matakane.

* Additional reporting by Bongani Hans and Sameer Naik.

Sunday Tribune