Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says she is happy that the start of the 2022 academic year is smooth. Speaking during her visit to schools in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, to check on their readiness as well as COVID-19 compliance, she says she is pleased to see that everything is going according to plan.
Schooling in inland provinces kicks off on Wednesday, while coastal schools will follow next week.
The Minister starts her school visits at the Matlapaneng Primary School in Randfontein. She was joined by representatives from a mobile service provider and a retail store, who donated school bags and shirts to underprivileged learners. Motshekga says she’s relieved that pupils are back at school.
“Schools are as ready as they could be. The reports I’m getting from all the schools that we’ll be visiting, what is the state of readiness, where they still have hitches with placements. I will not be able to give you the full impression about really comparing what I’m being told and what we have observed. But I’m just happy that we are back to school.”
The Minister also assured parents and learners that all schools will continue to implement COVID-19 protocols.
“If there is any sector that is COVID-19 compliant it is the education sector. We have outdone ourselves. We have been with this thing for nearly 2 years so we really know how to run the business, we can even teach other sectors how to be covid 19 compliant. You can see here, even our kids now understand the procedure. And you can see we even marked everywhere so that our schools can be COVID-19 compliant.”
Parents in Randfontein who dropped of their children say they are happy that schools have reopened. However, many are calling on the department to resume full attendance rather than remaining on a rotational basis.
“My child is in grade 4 at this present moment. So I was just happy to bring the children to school and we wish there could be schooling every day because at home there’s too much pressure,” laments one parent.
Another parent says, “The only thing I will be happy about is that this COVID thing can finish so schools can be attended every day so at least the kids will learn not like this past 2 years. The last 2 years as very hard and we don’t even know if the kids were coping but for this year we wish all the best for the kids.”
Motshekga says the department is also working closely with parents and schools to intensify efforts to vaccinate learners from the start of the academic year.
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