AfriForum slams 'unprofessional' announcement on opening schools

29 April 2020 - 15:45 By Ernest Mabuza
AfriForum has welcomed the planned reopening of schools but says some schools don't have running water and will not be able to maintain the required hygiene.
AfriForum has welcomed the planned reopening of schools but says some schools don't have running water and will not be able to maintain the required hygiene.
Image: Gallo Images

AfriForum has cautiously welcomed an announcement that schools could start opening as soon as next week.

Basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli told parliament that grade 12 and grade 7 pupils would start going back to school from May 6 - but just an hour later, there was confusion as the education deputy minister Makgabo Reginah Mhaule said these dates had changed.

However, while it welcomed the planned return to classes, AfriForum said the fact that 3,500 schools in the country still had no access to running water and were therefore unable to maintain hygiene as required was a major concern.

“Furthermore, AfriForum is of the opinion that the breakdown of the number of learners allowed per class has not been explained clearly. The organisation requests that the department should urgently provide more information in this regard,” it said in a statement.

AfriForum also expressed concern about the “unprofessional presentation” of the announcement and said it created little confidence among the thousands of teachers, parents and pupils who were watching.

The announcement of the plan to reopen schools was made by Mweli during a virtual meeting of parliament's basic education oversight committee on Wednesday morning.

“AfriForum hopes that in future attention will also be given to the manner in which announcements of such important information are made.

“Parents, learners and staff are under great pressure and should be able to rely on professional guidance and the provision of clear-cut, detailed information,” said AfriForum's manager of education, Carien Bloem.


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