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Teacher unions unconvinced schools will be ready to reopen next week

Basic Education Minister Motshekga on Monday apologised for her last-minute about-turn postponing the return of grades 7’s and matrics by another week.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (L) addressing the media on 1 June 2020 at Sunrise View Secondary School, Rustenburg. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Teacher unions on Monday said they still did not believe schools would be ready to resume teaching and learning under COVID-19 regulations come next Monday.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday apologised for her last-minute about-turn postponing the return of grades 7s and matrics by another week.

She said while deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) and water tankers were happening in provinces, schools were still at different levels of readiness.

Teacher unions still believe schools in the country need more time to prepare for the resumption of teaching and learning amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I don’t think it will be a week, I think it’s more like two weeks to be realistic,” said Basil Manual, the executive director of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa).

Manual said unions never agreed that next week would be an appropriate time for schools to resume.

“It’s a date nobody agreed to and, in fact, what we had advised was that on Thursday we meet and then access [the state of readiness of schools] so that we can see where we are, and then pick a date that is definitive,” he said.

Motshekga was once again expected to meet with unions and those involved in the sector later this week to assess the progress provinces have made.

So far, only Gauteng and the Western Cape have been identified as having met most of the COVID-19 health and safety standards.

WATCH: Angie Motshekga's school readiness update in 3 minutes

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