Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that Basic Education Angie Motshekga’s announcement on Tuesday night to reopen schools on 1 June for Grade 7s, Grade 12s and small-sizes schools was a risky and dangerous gamble with the lives of the nation’s young people.
Maimane, now a chief activist of One South Africa Movement said in a statement: “We fundamentally disagree with this seemingly rushed and half-baked decision.”
The movement has decided to launch a petition to engage with South Africans, teachers, parents and school governing boards over the next 11 days on whether they support the move by Mothsekga to reopen schools.
Maimane pointed out the ‘major red flag’ where the education department missed its own deadline to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitisers for senior management to all schools by 18 May.
The movement maintains the reopening of schools at this stage is a risk and danger to all learners, teachers and support staff.
“Our proposal for schools to remain closed for a three-month period is the most sensible choice.
“This will allow every school sufficient time to implement a ‘roadmap to reopening’ – a checklist of prerequisites that must be satisfied before any school is declared safe to reopen,” Maimane said.
They have formally written to the minister on their proposal.
The proposal includes weekly disinfecting of classrooms, safe and ventilated transport for learners, implementation of rotational class schedule to reduce class sizes and awareness posters of Covid-19 displayed in all schools.
One South Africa Movement spokesperson Dipolelo Moime said: “We accept the real possibility [of] our learners not completing the 2020 curriculum by the end of the year. Therefore, the curricula must be revised to merge 2020 and 2021 material.”
To mitigate the effects of such a move, they have proposed that all students entering higher education in 2021 be put in on extended programs, meaning students entering university next year will have one year added to their degrees.
Moime said we were entering a new normal and the department of basic education needed to respond by fixing the ‘broken’ education system, reform and adapt.
(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)