Education minister Angie Motshekga speaking about the department's readiness for the reopening of schools under level 3 on June 1 2020. Picture: GCIS.
Education minister Angie Motshekga speaking about the department's readiness for the reopening of schools under level 3 on June 1 2020. Picture: GCIS.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said on Monday the reopening of schools had to be postponed at the 11th hour because some were not ready to operate.

“Due to last-minute changes, on Saturday we had a meeting with the CEM [council of education ministers] and union bodies. The decision we took on Saturday forced me to do a series of consultations on Sunday,” Motshekga said on Monday, apologising for the postponement.

The minister had engaged heads of department, teacher unions, school governing bodies, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and organisations working with children who had special needs.

“On Saturday, we met and we received three critical reports — one on the state of readiness. We also received a report from Rand Water. I also had to receive reports from different provinces. Based on those reports, it was clear the sector was at different stages of readiness,” said Motshekga.

She confirmed that schools would reopen on June 8.

She said this week would be used to induct teachers and to “mop up” to comply with the safety standards necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This week would be used to deliver protective equipment and water tanks to schools that needed them, Motshekga said.

On Sunday evening,  Motshekga’s office announced the postponement of a scheduled media briefing in which she was to update the nation about the readiness of schools as pupils in Grades 7 and 12 were due to return to school.

Parents expressed their frustration about the last-minute U-turn, with many having already made arrangements to get their children back to class from June 1.

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