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Unions slam education dept for compromising health of educators

The Department of Basic Education last week announced pupils that contract the virus would be allowed to write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, but at a separate venue.

© paylessimages/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG – The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) on Monday reiterated that no educator could be forced to invigilate COVID-19 infected pupils.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) last week announced pupils that contract the virus would be allowed to write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, but at a separate venue.

ALSO READ: DBE urges matriculants' parents to inform schools of COVID-19 cases

Unions including the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and Naptosa raised concerns that the health and safety of its members could be comprised, among other issues.

The department issued a circular with revised protocols to assist schools to manage possible COVID-19 cases.

Naptosa said while it welcomed the revised protocols to help schools manage the possible spread of the coronavirus during the matric exams, the decision to invigilate candidates that have contracted the virus should lie with the educators.

“No teacher can be forced to invigilate. Some teachers may voluntarily do so, but they can only do so with the correct equipment,” said Naptosa president Basil Manuel.

Amongst the DBE’s protocols, COVID-19 positive candidates would be allowed to write their exams, but only at an isolated venue identified together with the Department of Health.

According to the circular, the invigilation at the identified venue would be carried out by a health official, an educator, an exam official, and or a private invigilator.

Naptosa said it was cautiously optimistic as teachers would no longer feel pressured and bullied into going into exam centres where they could possibly be exposed to the virus.

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