MEDIA STATEMENT – 30 APRIL 2020
RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS – MUCH STILL TO BE DONE
Today’s briefing by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, has not gone far enough to reduce the anxiety amongst parents, learners and school staff. Dr Anthea Cereseto, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation states, “There is still uncertainty on key matters. Much more detail is needed”.
The Governing Body Foundation is pleased that an extended period has been proposed for the preparation of schools before the first learners return. We continue to maintain that the safety of learners and school staff is paramount. While saving the school year is important, it is a secondary matter. We therefore support the plan to adjust the curriculum for grades R to 11 for 2020 and to integrate the excluded content in the curriculum for 2021. The Governing Body Foundation understands the drive to ensure that Grade 12s write the 2020 National Senior Certificate based on the entire curriculum but if the return to school is delayed beyond the 1st of June, this position will need to be reviewed.
While recognising that the Department has regularly engaged with stakeholders such as ourselves and that our concerns have been raised, not all have been adequately dealt with. More information is needed
regarding provisions for protecting vulnerable learners and staff and the concessions that will be made to accommodate their needs. The plan does not sufficiently address how the unique requirements of schools for learners with special education needs and schools with hostels will be met.
The Minister’s message urging parents to pay school fees because schools have the obligation to pay teachers who are employed by them is welcomed.
The Governing Body Foundation accepts the plan and strategies announced by the Minister and is committed to assisting its member schools to prepare for the return of learners. However, we emphasise that before any school opens for staff and learners that a full risk assessment will have been done and that the school will have been declared ready and able to adhere to all safety measures.
Dr Anthea Cereseto (Chief Executive Officer) – 061 091 2374 / 011 886 0031 / 082 610 5756
MEDIA STATEMENT – 29 APRIL 2020
PRECONDITIONS FOR THE RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS
Following the presentation to Parliament today by the Department of Basic Education, Dr Anthea Cereseto, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation said, “Until there is certainty on key matters, there can be no support for the return to school”.
The Governing Body Foundation emphasises that no official date for the re-opening of schools has been given yet. We await the announcement of the Minister for Basic Education which is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Nevertheless, the presentation to Parliament has caused considerable anxiety amongst the public at large but especially amongst parents of school-going children, learners and school staff. Those engaging with the presentation were left with more questions than answers. These answers are needed to allay the fears of everyone.
The Governing Body Foundation has been part of consultations with the Department of Basic education along with fellow associations of governing bodies, principal associations, and teacher unions. We have seen plans and been presented with reports from the provincial education departments on their state-of-readiness for-opening. We still have many unanswered questions, many of which were again raised by parliamentarians today. We lack answers. Until there is certainty on key matters, there can be no support for the return to school.
The Governing Body Foundation understands the drive to ensure that the school year is not lost, and that Grade 12s write the National Senior Certificate this year so that they can begin the next phase of their lives.
The Governing Body Foundation insists that the Department of Basic Education guarantees that, prior to re-opening schools, all implementation strategies concerning, for example, the health and safety measures, curriculum adjustments, and staffing requirements will be in place and that all practical problems will have been properly resolved. What the Governing Body Foundation cannot support is a premature decision to re-open before schools are ready. Doing so would be a reckless and irresponsible move.
Enquiries: Dr Anthea Cereseto (Chief Executive Officer) – 061 091 2374 / 011 886 0031 / 082 610 5756