About 131,000 Grade 7 and 83,000 Grade 12 pupils are expected to go back to school today with the Limpopo provincial command council, led by Premier Stan Mathabatha, monitoring the proceedings.
Mathabatha will today visit Derek Kobe Secondary and Patoga Primary Schools in Ga-Seleka in Seleteng Ga-Maleka and Lebowakgomo in the Capricorn district while other members of the command council team visit other regions.
Mathabatha’s spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said the purpose of the visits was to ensure that the first day of schooling ran smoothly and that learning and teaching resumed in earnest. He, however, urged parents and communities not to raise false alarms on the safety of pupils and teachers.
But there was criticism from some parents.
“I am a father of six children, three of them in Grades 7 and 12. Although education tops the list of things I want for my children, I believe their lives come first,” said Sanco Madia of Lephepane village outside Lenyenye in Tzaneen.
“How does basic education minister expect our children to answer questions in class? How does she expect teachers to teach wearing face masks? The department must wait until maybe after Level 2 lockdown,” he said.
Another parent Thalaza Molewa of Bolobedu in Tzaneen said: “Children will always be children and are expected to play during break-time and after classes, while going home. Who is going to guard them and ensure they always wear their masks?”
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo also seems to share the parents’ views.
Sadtu Limpopo provincial secretary Sowell Tjebane said: “Schools in Turfloop, Seshego, Lebowakgomo, Kgapane, Lenyenye and towns could be ready, but the last time I checked, schools in far-flung rural areas were not yet ready.”