Natu teachers 'not returning' to school on Monday: 'We can't gamble with lives'
With South Africa's Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners set to return to schools on 1 June, teachers are expected to report for duty tomorrow (Monday 25 May) in preparation.
Teacher unions conducted their own survey of school readiness ahead of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's announcement on Tuesday.
The purpose of the survey was twofold - to strengthen collaboration between the department and unions who "share the goal of ensuring that schools are safe for teachers and learners to return", but also to verify the information conveyed by the minister
We will continue to make a positive contribution to the discussion of the Unions and the Minister by conducting weekly surveys to assist informed decision making and sharing the results nationally and provincially. We, however, wish to make it clear that if PPEs had not arrived at schools and the required cleaning had not taken place when teachers return on Monday, they are not to endanger their lives by entering such schools.Joint statement by Naptosa, PEU, Natu, Sadtu and SAOU
At the same time, the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) has joined forces with the National Association of Parents in School Governance (NAPSG) to challenge the DA's court application to oppose the lockdown regulations, particularly with reference to the re-opening of schools.
Africa Melane speaks to NAPSG president Mahlomola Kekana, who says the DA's move is irresponsible and irrational. (Listen to that interview at the bottom of this page)
Africa also interviews Cynthia Barnes, General Secretary of the National Teachers Union (Natu), which has instructed its teacher members not to return to school on Monday.
Barnes says during a meeting with the Education Department's director general unions raised the point that their non-negotiable conditions for school readiness had not been met.
Therefore he also said it is much better to employ independent companies who are going to collect information from the provinces as well as the schools.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
Among these non-negotiables, Barnes mentions that most of the schools nationwide have not received sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
Those that have received PPE have received a minimal number - sanitizers are not given to schools, as well as the schools are not deep cleaned. Those that are cleaned are just cleaned by ordinary cleaners that were at school at that time.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
There are still schools that are vandalised - in the entire country there are 1,577 schools that are vandalized, but we are not given any report on how many were repaired...Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
We are saying we cannot gamble with the lives of those children as well as the lives of the teachers.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
Barnes says they still haven't received official numbers for those high-risk teachers who are exempt from returning to school and are to be substituted.
We are going to be happy if maybe the department is giving us the plans on how they are going to do things... Even the director general yesterday said it himself, that there are so many provinces that are not ready. He gave us an example of KwaZulu-Natal, an example of the Eastern Cape, as well as the Free State.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
Then how can we allow teachers, as well as the learners, to go back to school? ... Our teachers are not going back to school on the 25th of May.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
The PPEs should be sent to school, the sanitizers must also be there, pumps and water tanks must be installed. All the schools must be deep cleaned and disinfected. They must speak to the transport people and the buses that are hired must be fumigated. Who is going to sanitize the learners while they are getting into the buses? Also, a psycho-social support system.Cynthia Barnes, General secretary - National Teachers Union
Listen to the important discussions in the audio clips below:
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