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KZN Education Dept ‘to ensure’ all schools resume teaching by next Monday

Premier Sihle Zikalala said 104 of the province's 6,148 schools would not be able to resume classes due to various problems such as a lack of water.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the majority of schools nationwide were ready to open for thousands of grade 7s and matrics on Monday morning. Picture: Pixabay.com

DURBAN/JOHANNESBURG - Education authorities in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday said they would ensure that schools that won't be able to resume teaching on Monday are able to do so by next week.

Premier Sihle Zikalala said 104 of the province's 6,148 schools would not be able to resume classes due to various problems such as a lack of water.

The province’s education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said a plan had been developed to cater for pupils whose schools would not resume class on Monday.

“Those learners should be transported to the nearby schools so that they don’t get left behind in terms of curriculum recovery. So, the district directors are working with principals to identify schools that will have enough space to accommodate learners from any school that will not be ready.”

Mshengu said they had also enlisted the services of the South African National Defence Force in ensuring the safe delivery of water to schools in water-scarce municipalities.

The MEC said from Monday, all learners and teachers would be screened for COVID-19 when they entered school premises.

Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the majority of schools nationwide were ready to open for thousands of grade 7s and matrics on Monday morning.

The minister said after delaying the return of pupils by a week, she could confidently say precautions had been taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

Motshekga said most schools had been provided with personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the department was aiming to address the remaining shortages in a week.

She said online learning would continue for other pupils: “The teaching and learning programmes provided online will continue and parents who are uneasy to send their children back to schools must follow the law to ensure that children’s rights to basic education is unhindered.”

Basic Education director general Mathanzima Mweli said most schools were ready: “97.6% of the total number of public schools [are ready].”

The department said there had been a major effort over the past week to provide PPEs, water tanks and mark spaces at schools for social distancing and none of the provinces were considered high-risk when it came to schooling.

44 SCHOOLS IN LIMPOPO TO REMAIN CLOSED

Forty-four schools in Limpopo will remain closed on Monday morning due to non-compliance with lockdown regulations.

A lack of water and sanitation are chief among the problems faced by schools in the province.

The Department of Education said there had been an oversupply of water tankers in Limpopo.

It said 475 tanks were needed, but 499 were delivered to augment storage capacity.

But water and sanitation remain a problem for the province, with the department conceding they've had difficulties installing these tankers.

Provincial education spokesperson Tidimalo Choene said the majority of the grade 7 and 12 pupils in the province would report to well-functioning compliant schools: “However, we are still not at 100% as reflected by the minister’s statement. There are 44 schools that we identified as a province that were still not fully compliant.”