Block A, Riviera Office Park, 6-10 Riviera Road, Killarney, Johannesburg, 2193


31 May 2020

Statement on resumption of duty in the basic education sector

The Council of Education Minister met yesterday to assess the state of readiness for the reopening of schools.

CEM received a report from the Consortium of service providers coordinated by the National Education Collaboration Trust on the External Evaluation and Monitoring of the state of readiness. Rand Water, as an Implementing Agent delivering water to 3 500 schools, also presented its report.

The Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM), also presented its technical report. All three reports converged on the fact that a substantial number of schools would not be ready for the reopening tomorrow, albeit tremendous progress had been made by most provinces, which overall reflected 80% state of readiness. CEM was concerned that, in some provinces personal protective equipment for learners in particular, had not been received; and some schools had not been made ready for the arrival of teachers and learners.

CEM then took decisions, which have since been shared with teacher unions, school governing body associations, independent schools’ associations, the SA Human Rights Commission, Principals Association, South African National Association for Specialized Education, and other stakeholders. Meetings have taken place, since yesterday and today, in which we shared the outcome of the reports and the proposed course of action.

CEM took informed decisions to have schools to continue to reopen on 01 June 2020, but with School Management Teams, Teachers and Non-Teaching Staff only arriving to prepare for the arrival of learners. Provincial and district officials should ensure that health, safety, and social distancing requirements, are strictly adhered to when teachers arrive. This whole coming week must be used for the proper orientation and training of teachers, the mopping and ramping of all supply chain matters, and final touches to the readiness of each facility for the arrival of learners.

The date on which all learners have to report back to school, is the 08 June 2020.
We have however received reports that indicate that some learners in boarding schools have already arrived. We urge the schools to continue with orientation of the learners in terms of the health and safety procedures that should be in place.
The Department held meetings with the association representing independent schools yesterday and today and it was agreed on how they should proceed regarding the reopening of their schools.

NB: Minister Motshekga will hold a media briefing tomorrow at 11:00 am at Sunrise View, Rustenburg.

Issued by the Department of Basic Education.