Home South African Teacher unions slam Motshekga’s ‘wish list’

Teacher unions slam Motshekga’s ‘wish list’

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Unions accused the minister of talking about what she hoped to do rather than what has been achieved to ensure the health and safety of pupils and teachers when they return to school.

Durban – With less than two weeks to go before schools are set to reopen, teachers unions have dismissed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s presentation as a “wish list”.

Unions accused the minister of talking about what she hoped to do rather than what has been achieved to ensure the health and safety of pupils and teachers when they return to school.

Allen Thompson, president of the National Teachers Union, said they were not happy about Motshekga’s plans.

“All we heard is that the department is planning to do this or that. We want to know what has been done already.”

Thompson said there were also concerns around pupil transport. He said meetings with service providers had still not taken place.

“Looking at the various aspects of readiness, as reflected in the report, there is no clear evidence that the majority of provinces will actually be ready to reopen schools on June 1,” said Thompson.

He added that most provinces had merely presented statements of intent, and it still remained to be seen whether these promises would be fulfilled.

Ben Machipi, general secretary of the Professional Educators Union, said they were concerned that the minister had not spoken in detail on what has been done already, but were happy safety had been prioritised.

“She has not spoken out about the need for additional teachers and sourcing extra classrooms.

“With social distancing, the challenge is when the other grades return to school,” he said.

Basil Manuel of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa said they were happy that the minister was speaking of some direction, “but the report on the ground from members of different unions is that a lot of the things have not been done”.

Matakanye Matakanya, of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, said the organisation wished the minister could have provided a tangible plan that they could outline to parents.

He said a plan was needed that addressed all the key concerns of social distancing and the availability of personal protective equipment.

“At the moment, we do not have that plan.”

The Mercury

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