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Dept will not ‘push all pupils back to school’

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Education director-general says the department is not “fixed to push all the pupils back to school”.

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MORE pupils in the Northern Cape are expected to return to school from Monday, July 6. 

During a joint sitting of the portfolio and select committees on basic education on Tuesday, it was stated that grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 would return to school on July 6.

The director-general for the Department of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli, in a presentation to the committees, outlined the steps to be taken by the sector in the context of Covid-19.

According to Mantanzima Mweli, the department is not “fixed to push all the pupils back to school”.

“The plans are flexible in the context of the increase in the infection rate in communities. We also need to be mindful of the capacity of the health system to handle the spike in cases in the country,” said Mweli

There are various options, including home education, online learning or a partnership with the schools to fetch and drop off schoolwork, for those parents who do not wish to send their children back to school. 

“Parents who wish to continue with home education are required to register with the department. Parents can also arrange with the school to keep the child registered while the parent or caregiver takes the responsibility of fetching and dropping off the child’s schoolwork to and from home. Schools and parents need to work together to ensure no child is left behind,” said Mweli.

He added that school nutrition was one of the reasons that the department wanted to reopen schools.

“We want to give access to pupils who were deprived of meals due to the lockdown. There was no access to the feeding scheme when schools were closed. We have now even extended the feeding of pupils to those who are not even back at school yet by arranging for them to collect food parcels from their respective schools,” he said.

Mweli added that the feeding programme for Grade 12 and Grade 7 pupils had resumed successfully in most provinces.