Public schools not facing severe staff shortages, says Basice Education's Mhaule

Basic Education Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule told EWN that while 22,000 educators had successfully applied to work from home due to co-morbidities, most schools remained functional.

FILE: Basic Education Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule. Picture: @ReginahMhaul/Twitter

DURBAN - The Department of Basic Education (DBE) on Thursday insisted that it was not facing severe staff shortages at schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule told Eyewitness News that while 22,000 educators had successfully applied to work from home due to comorbidities, most schools remained functional.

Mhaule said that they were determined to ensure that the academic year proceeded without any further disruptions after having to previously close schools due to concerns raised by teacher unions.

She said that their differentiated approach, which allows schools to operate at 50% of their capacity, was assisting in managing social distancing.

“In some schools, grade one pupils will only go to school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And the other grades will go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the next week they exchange again. That makes the teachers also to be flexible,” Mhaule said.

Mhaule said that while they had no money to substitute all educators with comorbidities, officials continued to make interventions where necessary.

“Where we see that resources do not allow us to replace, then we get assistant teachers to come and help for that particular period,” she said.

She has thanked educators, saying that they had shown determination to teach despite challenges presented by COVID-19.

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