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Basic Education minister urged to provide clarity on plan to reopen schools

The group said that over the past two weeks, inconsistent and contradictory information had been communicated by the Basic Education Department, leading to confusion and anxiety.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gives an update on plans around the 2020 academic year. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - Rights group Equal Education is hoping that the Basic Education minister clarifies what teachers and learners can expect with the reopening of schools.

The group said that over the past two weeks, inconsistent and contradictory information had been communicated by the department, leading to confusion and anxiety.

Minister Angie Motshekga will on Thursday make an announcement on the phased reopening of schools.

Equal Education's Law Centre and Section27 want the minister to address a few key issues.

These include clear time-bound plans and budget information detailing the identified need and provision of protective personal equipment, adequate water and toilet facilities and additional classroom space and teachers.

Equal Education general secretary Noncedo Madubedube said that they also wanted details on measures that would be put in place to support teachers and learners in circumstances where the department's "non-negotiables" for a school to reopen had not been met.

"So in schools in quintiles 1 to 3, we anticipate that these services might take a while. What is plan B in that event by the Department of Basic Education and provincial education departments?"

The groups also want to know what resources will be provided to learners at home, taking into account the prolonged impact of school closures on the right to education.