“We are not only ready, but we have also made all possible preparations to ensure that everyone that is a stakeholder within the education space can give us the go-ahead,” Lesufi said at a media briefing by the provincial command council.
This follows the Department of Basic Education’s decision in January to postpone the reopening of public schools to 15 February 2021, due to the second wave of Covid-19 infections that swept the country. Pupils in private schools were allowed to open two weeks earlier on 1 February.
Lesufi said his department met with principals in the province and gave them the green light to open schools for the 2021 academic year. He said they were expecting more than 1.5 million pupils to be back in their classes from Monday, and a rotational system would be used.
“We met with all the unions, including teachers’ unions, and they have also given us the green light to open our schools. We met with learner formations this morning [Friday] and the head of the department is still in that meeting. We are quite convinced that they will also give us the green light to reopen the schools on Monday,” he said.
To date, the province’s online registration for admissions for grades 1 to 8 received a total of 220,710 applications, Lesufi said. He added that while they had placed 104,408 grade 1 and 115,774 grade 8 pupils in schools – 1565 applicants were yet to be placed.
The MEC said the department was targeting the end of February to complete all outstanding applications.
“We are pleading with parents to go for the alternative schools that we have given them so that we can have our children back on the 15th of February,” he said.
ALSO READ: DBE releases official 2021 school calendar
The department has also acquired personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitisers, surface disinfectants and face shields, among other measures, to ensure the protection of pupils and educators.
Lesufi said they were ready to enforce scholar transport safety guidelines for over 500,000 pupils who utilised any form of scholar transport in Gauteng.
New school to be opened in Ekurhuleni
Lesufi also announced that on Monday the department would be opening the newly built Abram Hlophe Primary School in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni.
“It’s a beautiful school and we are handing it over to the community of Katlehong. We are pleading with the community of Katlehong: please take care of that beautiful school. It’s an amazing school for a primary school,” Lesufi said.
He said the province was returning to its commitment to open a new school every month, especially in areas where there was overcrowding.
Hello community of Katlehong, Ekurhuleni. From this Monday this beauty belongs to you and your children. Please take care of it. Thank you so much @TasneemMotara for the brilliant work. Let’s restore our commitment to open a new school every month. Growing GP Together pic.twitter.com/pW4yrvT62o
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) February 12, 2021