- On International Day for Protection of Children, President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the return to school for SA students
- This comes after Minister Angie Motshekga cancelled the first day of school just hours beforehand
- Ramaphosa assured the nation that no school would open until Covid-19 prevention measures have been put into place
President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the return of South African schoolchildren amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Briefly.co.za reported that Minister Angie Motshekga had cancelled the first day of school for Grade 7 and 12 students just hours before the official reopening on Monday morning.
Now, Ramaphosa stressed that the phased approach to school resuming would only take place under safe conditions:
"In the last few weeks, as we have prepared to return to school, we have had extensive and detailed discussions with all role-players in the education sphere. These have guided our approach to this complex and challenging task. Now, in the last few days, several of these stakeholders – including teachers and parents – have expressed concern about the state of readiness in many schools. We have heard them, we welcome their contributions and are taking steps to address their concerns as well as proposals."
The president says that the fear and concern expressed ahead of schools opening is understandable:
"It is understandable that many parents and caregivers have mixed emotions at this time about the reopening of schools. There is relief that children will be able to resume their education after a prolonged absence from classrooms and lecture halls. Young people are eager to be in school again and to see friends and teachers. But there is also apprehension on the part of parents, educators and learners themselves."
Ramaphosa reassured South Africa that no school will reopen until all the Covid-19 precautions are firmly in place:
"As parents, teachers, governing bodies and government, we are in agreement that no school should re-open until all the necessary precautions are in place. There needs to be transparency about the level of preparedness of each of the schools. Everyone who is a key role player, be they a parent, a school governing body member, a teacher or a government official should be able to have the correct information about the state of preparedness of each school. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is safe."
Despite the fears over the virus and its impact on schools, Ramaphosa urged SA to continue with courage:
"Though we may feel anxious and fearful as our sons and daughters leave our care, we must draw courage from the fact that every effort is being made to protect them. As parents, you have entrusted us with the welfare and safety of your children. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly. In the days and weeks to come, we will be closely monitoring the return to school."
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