The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed the government’s decision to close schools for four weeks.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his address to the nation last night that public schools would close between July 27 to August 24, with the exception of grades 12 and grade seven learners that will return on August 6 and 10 respectively.
DA leader John Steenhuizen says the decision is not supported by science.
He says: “President Ramaphosa is behaving like a spectator President, taking instructions from whichever powerful interest group threatens him more. In this instance, it is teacher unions that have come first and not children that can’t vote who are coming last. This decision is not supported by the best available evidence, it is not supported by education experts, and it is not supported by the virus data. The scientific evidence is that schools do not expose learners and staff to higher levels of risk than any other places.”
Gap between rich and poor
The South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) says the closure of schools will highlight the wide gap that exists between the rich and the poor.
Sadtu General-Secretary Mugwena Maluleka says this will give the Basic Education Department enough time to ensure the safety of learners and teachers in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
He, however, says they are concerned that inequalities in education are continuing.
Maluleka says, “We are raising a concern of the two countries where the private schools have not been affected therefore this will seem as the perpetuation of the apartheid structure. And the design that the rich will continue to have opportunities while the poor do not have those opportunities. We think it has to come to an end.”
Parents have mixed emotions to Ramaphosa’s announcement. They are concerned about what is going to happen next year.