The Department of Basic Education has confirmed that school close officially today in terms of the Cabinet decision taken on Sunday however teachers continue to work until Friday, 20 March 2020.
The Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga and all MECs of education concurred on Monday that in view of the COVID-19 situation schools needed to go on an early recess as from today, 18 March 2020.
The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) instructed heads of education departments to develop an implementation plan that would include a curriculum catch up plan. In order to achieve this objective teachers would have to work as normal in terms of the approved school calendar.
Heads of Education Department Committee (HEDCOM) also met to process the directive of the process and to agree on a uniform implementation of the drastic measures announced by President Cyirl Ramaphosa.It was also agreed that staff would be staying until Friday to finalise the administration. HEDCOM proceeded to communicate the CEM decision to all schools and stakeholders.
“Heads of Education discussed the implications of the Cabinet decision and agreed that the best way forward is to send learners home from 18 March 2020 and allow teachers the space needed to plan for the reopening of schools which is scheduled for 14 April 2020. We are grateful that our teachers have heeded the call because they understand the circumstances we are working under and that the curriculum implementation remains our priority,” said Mathanzima Mweli, the Director-General of the Department of Basic Education.
He said DBE would support provinces in ensuring that the CEM directive is implemented and that a comprehensive recovery plan is put in place to mitigate against the 10 days that will be lost as a result of the early close of schools.
Minister Motshekga has noted questions regarding learners benefiting from the school nutrition programme and the plans during school closures.
“The concern is valid however schools were due to close anyway on Friday so parents and guardians were always going to continue with their responsibilities over their children. The nutrition provides meals to learners in school. We are working on revising the school calendar to ensure that the 10 days are recovered so that nobody is compromised in anyway,” said Minister Motshekga.
The Minister repeated her appeal to parents to keep their children at home and to support them with school work during the long period of school closures.
All schools including early childhood centres, private and public as well as boarding and special schools are affected by the cabinet decision.
The Department will continue to monitor the situation and advise accordingly should there be new developments on the matter of the Coronavirus.
Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275
Hope Mokgatlhe - 079 817 0427
Terence Khala - 081 758 1546