Teachers are traumatised. We need that break – SA Democratic Teachers Union
All public schools will close for four weeks between 27 July and 24 August, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday evening.
The announcement follows days of discussions between Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and teacher unions.
Grade-12 pupils will return on 3 August while Grade-7 learners will commence learning at school on 10 August.
The academic year will extend into 2021.
The decision was taken despite scientific consensus that the best thing for children was to be at school.
“I think it's a case of government deciding to take advice from the unions, rather than from the scientists because the scientific community has been pretty uniform that there is very little reason to close the schools,” said Professor Shabir Madhi, one of the most senior scientists on the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC).
"The opening of the schools has got very little to do with the transmission of the virus and if anything, the closure of the schools is going to do more harm than good,” said Madhi.
“It seems government is more keen to listen to taxi owners and trade union leaders than to the scientists.”
Refilwe Moloto interviewed Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).
Sadu - the largest teacher union that has been calling for schools to close – are not entirely happy with what President Cyril Ramaphosa announced.
They want all schools in the country – not only public schools – to close.
We welcome the announcement because we need time to fix schools that were creating problems in terms of having preventative measures in place…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
It’s not logical [for Grade-7s to return earlier] …Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
We cannot be chasing the academic year… the teachers are already traumatised… We need that break…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
The perception about laziness will always be there because people don’t take into account the work that teachers do under normal circumstances…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
… Teaching children is not about complying. It’s about love. It’s about caring…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
We will be guided by how the virus is evolving in terms of the peak… Whether you’re going to have to extend [the 4-week school closure] or not…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
Let’s be guided by the scientists in terms of how the peak is going to be… We must never risk the lives of teachers and learners…Mugwena Maluleke, General Secretary - South African Democratic Teachers Union
Listen to the interview in the audio below.
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