Parliament, Friday, 15 January 2021 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, has welcomed the postponement of the reopening of schools for the 2021 academic year.
Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba said this is an important decision, as the lives of learners should always be put first. “The second wave of Covid-19 has shown that new infections are prevelant among the youth. We appeal strongly to all to adhere to all the health regulations, such as keeping social distance, wearing masks and washing or sanitising hands regularly. You are our future and are important for the future of this country,” added Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba.
Schools were expected to open on 27 January 2021. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) announced today that learning in all schools will be delayed by two weeks and will resume on 15 February 2021. According to the DBE, on 12 and 13 January 2021, it consulted the Council of Education Ministers, the Heads of Education Departments Committee, national school governing body associations, teachers’ unions, learner formations, principals’ associations, the national associations representing independent schools and learners with special education needs. All stakeholders were united in supporting a delay in the opening of schools.
Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba said: “As we see the sudden spike in new Covid-19 infections and deaths over the last few weeks, it was critical that government and all the education authorities reassess the opening date of schools, as we would not want to put the health system in the country under further pressure and possibly exposing more South Africans to the virus. The decision was in the best interests of everyone.”
She further noted the recent deaths of several National Senior Certificate examination markers, and expressed condolences to the family, friends and sector as a whole. “We are all affected by this ravaging virus. We appeal to everyone to observe the health regulations when they are attending funerals.”
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION, MS BONGIWE MBINQO-GIGABA.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
Tel: 021 403 8437
Cell: 081 703 9542
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