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Parents worried about COVID-19 can apply for exemption and homeschooling

The minister addressed the media on Monday following her department’s decision to postpone the phased reopening of schools for Grade 7 and 12 pupils to 8 June.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga at a briefing on 1 June 2020. Picture GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday reiterated that parents who still felt anxious about sending their kids back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic could apply for exemption and homeschooling.

Addressing the media from the Sunrise View Secondary School, in Rustenburg, Motshekga said applications for the exemption from attending school could be made to the provincial heads of department.

The minister addressed the media following her department’s decision on Sunday to postpone the phased reopening of schools for Grade 7 and 12 pupils to 8 June after several schools were found not to be ready to reopen.

Motshekga said there were requirements parents and caregivers needed to meet for exemption and home education.

According to the South African Schools Act, the provincial education department heads could either exempt a pupil entirely, partially, or conditionally from compulsory attendance from school. But, the exemption should be in the best interests of the learner, Motshekga said.

The minister said parents who chose not to send their children to school were obliged to apply for homeschooling. She said this would have to be approved by the head of the department or school principal.

“You can’t keep your children at home, saying you're anxious and therefore we find ourselves having to support you,” Motshekga said.

“So, a parent who chooses not to send a learner to school is obliged because basic education is compulsory. The education of children between 6-years-old and 15-years-old is compulsory by law,” she added.

The minister encouraged parents to familiarise themselves with the necessary requirements for home education.

Regarding the movement of people between provinces and districts under level 3 lockdown, Motshekga said her department would issue permits to ensure that teachers, pupils, and caregivers could commute to school.

She also said drivers of scholar transport should also have permits in order to travel between provinces and districts.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.