Mixed reactions from unions on Ramaphosa's announcement to close public schools
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night announced that as the country approaches the coronavirus peak, public schools in South Africa will take a four week break.
The break is a precautionary measure to ensure schools don't become sites for the transmission of the virus, Ramaphosa added.
Government schools will be closed from Monday until 24 August.
Matrics will, however, only go on a break for a week and grade 7s will stay at home for a fortnight.
Clement Manyathela facilitates a discussion on the closing of public schools with National Professional Teachers Organisation Of South Africa (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel and Federation Of Governing Bodies Of South African Schools deputy chief executive officer Jaco Deacon.
Some of the things we have asked have been addressed and some other things have been addressed differently to what we thought they ought to have been. We are happy about the fact that we have been listened to on the closure for four weeks. We recognise that there are two grades that will not be closing.Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa
He says his union spoke about the schooling system as a whole as private schools have also had coronavirus infections.
Manuel adds that schools are the best places for children however, currently, there are other things to consider.
We agree, schools are the best place for children, but its not only children that are at schools, we are speaking on behalf of teachers and the physiological impact on teachers. None of these expects have spoken to that.Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa
Deacon says his union is disappointed with the decision as research show that it is in the best interest of children to be in schools.
The president and the department should have given the option and the choice to the school community to decide for how long they want to close or whether they want to close instead of issuing a decree that says all schools must close.Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO - Federation Of Governing Bodies Of SA Schools
Listen below to the full conversation:
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