11 August 2020 - NW1814
Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Basic Education to ask the Minister of Basic Education
(1) On what basis was the decision made to close public schools from 27 July to 24 August 2020, but keep private schools open; (2) whether she has found that it is in the best interest of the education system to have one set of rules for public schools and another for private schools; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
(1) The decision to go on a school break was taken by the Cabinet. The decision was announced by the President. In the Basic Education Sector there were extensive consultations with more than 60 organisations. The process was initiated after a sudden spike in the rate of infections in communities. This resulted in fear and anxiety among parents, teachers and learners.
(2) Stakeholders made their inputs during our consultation; including stakeholders in the independent schooling sector, also made their inputs and spelt out the implications for the closure of schools. They indicated that their schools were not covered in the relief funds, and that some of their schools had closed down permanently due to the dire financial situation; and learners had been displaced and teachers lost jobs. It was therefore, determined as not serving the best interest of anybody to ask private schools to go on a break. Independent schools use a trimester system; whereas public schools use quarterly terms. Their schools are also following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and have submitted their records of compliance to all health and safety protocols as well as social distancing to the district offices before being approved to reopen.