More clarity on when schools will be reopened, as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, may be available in two weeks.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said she can only say for sure when schools will reopen when the plan has been approved by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the Cabinet.
She told a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture on Tuesday that her department will present the detailed plan for the reopening of schools on 18 May.
Last Wednesday, the department made a presentation to the committees and, according to their presentation, the initial plan was for schools to reopen in phases from 6 May, with Grade 12s and Grade 7s returning to schools.
However, later in the briefing, after MPs questioned the feasibility of 6 May for schools to reopen, the department’s deputy minister, Reginah Mhaule, said the plan was presented to the social cluster of ministers on Tuesday, who said 6 May was not achievable.
“On the 18th, our children are going to school,” Mhaule concluded her address to the meeting.
The plan was presented to the NCCC later in the day.
Then, last Thursday, Motshekga announced at a press briefing that schools could open on 1 June for Grade 12s and Grade 7s.
This, however, is dependent on the department’s plans to ensure that schools are safe and Covid-19 compliant.
It is these plans that will be presented to the NCCC and then to the Cabinet for approval.
Motshekga said they had submitted their framework for the reopening of schools to the NCCC, but it was not approved.
“They said, go back.”
Motshekga said they will only be able to say schools will reopen on 1 June – or provide a timeline – after their plans were approved by the NCCC and the Cabinet.