’We are ready to open schools on Monday’
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Johannesburg - All schools in the country are ready to be open on Monday.
This was the declaration made by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Saturday ahead of the official announcement expected to be made by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he addresses the nation on Sunday.
“As a sector, we have held countless consultative sessions to deliberate on the reopening of schools. Depending on confirmation by the President tomorrow after Cabinet, as a sector, there is agreement across the board that we are ready for the reopening of schools on Monday, 26 July 2021. School Management Teams and support staff have already gone back to work, as from Thursday, 22 July 2021, to prepare for the return of learners and teachers on Monday, 26 July 2021,” she said.
Motshekga said based on the information obtained from provinces, schools are ready to continue to work within the established Covid-19 health protocol, also to start resuming full school attendance in the primary schools from the 2nd August 2021.
She also said that the sector continues to be committed, and they were ready to maintain a balance between saving lives and livelihoods while fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Director-General is continuing to convene one-on-one meetings with the Heads of the Provincial Education Departments, to ensure that there is continuous sharing of experiences and working together,” Motshekga said.
She said, in 2020, the president announced a R100 billion stimulus package, which among other things, was meant to support job creation in the sector.
“As part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme, to address the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the economy and social infrastructure, the DBE, in collaboration with (Provincial Education Departments) PEDs, implemented the Basic Education Employment Initiative, as part of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative.
“The DBE and the PEDs were allocated R7 billion rand, with about R2.4 billion allocated to the saving of posts for teachers employed by SGBs and independent schools. From this allocation, 33 549 posts were saved,” Motshekga said.
She also said through this programme, the sector employed 200 000 education assistants; and 100 000 general school assistants. “Altogether, about 320 000 young people benefitted from the employment opportunities. These young people assisted the sector in addressing challenges in schools arising out of the Covid-19 outbreaks.
“They supported teachers with in-classrooms remedial work, focusing in particular, on learning gaps created by Covid-19 response measures, such as the differentiated timetabling, helping the Sector implement its MTEF plans, such as coding, robotics, ramping up the reading and numeracy programmes; and ensuring that at all times, learning and teaching took place in a safe and conducive environment, in compliance with Covid-19 protocols,” Motshekga said.