Proposed reopening date for schools has changed – Deputy education minister speaks out

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The deputy minister stressed that lives can’t be put at risk all for the sake of successfully completing an academic year.

While making her contributions towards the end of Wednesday’s joint meeting between the portfolio committee on basic education and the select committee on education and technology, sports, arts and culture, deputy minister for the department of basic education Reginah Mhaule questioned how feasible it would be to reopen schools on 6 May.

“I don’t know whether we have sufficient time that we can take everything to all the officials that are here because, to me, issues that I think are critical which are raised by members is that the date of the 6th …is it realistic…” began Mhaule.

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This after a draft amended school calendar was shared in the portion of the presentation led by Basic Education Director-General Hubert Mweli.

The dates on the calendar were yet to be confirmed this week by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The draft calendar suggested teachers would be back at work by 4 May, with pupils back on 6 May. Grades would be phased in, starting with grades 7 and 12.

Mhaule confirmed in the live stream that staff such as principals and chairpersons of school governing bodies would indeed be back on the 4th to prepare for the as-yet unconfirmed return of learners.

However, she suggested the date for the reopening of schools had of necessity already been changed from 6 May after the social cluster had deemed the proposed timeline unrealistic.

“We cannot say we are presenting a cast [in] stone plan if the members of the portfolio and select committees see some gaps that you cannot go on this. Yesterday after presenting to the social cluster, the social cluster indicated that the date of the 6th is not realistic. So we need to change it, which [in] the presentation that I have now, that date is changed.”

The deputy minister stressed that lives could not be put at risk for the sake of successfully completing an academic year and she reiterated that saving lives would be prioritised in all decision-making.

– The Citizen


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