More than half of the schools in at least five provinces are confident they can adhere to the Covid-19 protocols set for schools and thus ready to open.
According to a survey conducted by the Education Labour Relations Council 70% of the schools in the Western Cape, 61% of schools in the Free State and more than 50% of schools in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape will be able to adhere to the set protocols for schools. Almost half (49%) of the schools in Limpopo and the Northwest Province can open with all protocols in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“The department should not act as if all schools are equal and thus to be treated the same,” says Daleen Gouws, Action Society’s spokesperson. “Schools have learnt many lessons in handling the Covid-19 situation in 2020. They should have the opportunity to gauge for themselves how prepared they are to open.”
More than 40% of schools indicated that they did not complete the previous year’s curriculum. Schools have also reported that pupils are restless and have trouble concentrating because of the disruption in school routines.
“The department should by now realise that they are robbing children of an education by keeping schools closed,” says Gouws. “Each school’s circumstances are different. Don’t hold back the schools who can continue with lessons. Lend support to the schools which aren’t ready so that they can also open as soon as possible.”
While schools are closed, children are in harm’s way. Parents’ working conditions force them to leave children home alone. They are often left in the unreliable care of individuals who abuse them.
Around nine million children depend on a school meal every day. School lunches are an essential source of food that is not accessible when schools are closed.
“It is time for school’s to open. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks,” says Gouws.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 29 January 2021
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society