A case brought by trade union Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Social Workers and their School Support Centre (SCC) against the department of social development regarding the reopening of private nursery schools has been postponed until next Tuesday.
According to the union, the judge in the matter ordered the case to be postponed to consider previous rulings on the reopening of schools during Covid-19.
According to a circular from the department of social development, provisions are made for early childhood development programmes and partial care facilities that want to reopen during the lockdown, subject to the pronouncement of a date of reopening by the minister.
Earlier this month the union addressed a letter to the minister to address the matter, saying dates for the reopening of public nursery schools had been announced by the department of education, but private nursery schools and day-cares were not included.
When the minister did not respond to the letter, the union proceeded with an urgent court application.
According to Marisa Engelbrecht, sector head at Solidarity’s Occupational Guild of Social Workers, delays in reopening nursery schools could negatively impact children.
“Many children in departmental nursery schools will, one of these days, return to school while thousands of other children in private nursery schools are deprived of this basic human right by government.”
Engelbrecht said the delay in reopening nursery schools could impact children’s scholastic progress.
“Furthermore, parents are concerned for they have no place to leave their children while they themselves must return to work.
“There are also many children exposed to domestic violence at home and for many children the meal they received at school was their only meal of the day,” she said.