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By Citizen Reporter


KZN MEC assures parents no school will accept learners if not ready

MEC Kwazi Mshengu says the department is working hard to ensure schools are ready and safe for learners and teachers.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu has assured parents of school-going children in the province that no school will accept learners back on 8 June if it is not ready in terms of Covid-19 health and safety procedures that should be in place.

Mshengu was on Monday visiting schools in the uMgungundlovu District in the province to inspect their state of readiness. These included Insika High, Sanzwili Primary and Bongudunga Secondary School.

On Monday, Mshengu spoke to an SABC journalist at the premises of one of the schools, where he acknowledged that the school was not ready to accept learners.

Grades 7 and 12 were initially scheduled to go back to school on Monday, 1 June, however, this was postponed by the department of basic education to 8 June.

Mshengu said the school was not ready for a number of reasons, including that there was no running water, but a water tank will be installed on Monday, at the end of which it is expected that the municipality would have supplied water.

The MEC said he was shocked to learn that only one mask per learner had been procured for the school when two masks per learner were meant to be ordered and that the ablution facilities were in a bad state. He added that officials would have to account.

Mshengu said he had taken the decision to visit schools that were still not ready to welcome back learners and a more “hands-on” approach and timeous interventions where necessary.

He conceded that some internal deficiencies within the department contributed to the delay in the readiness of some schools in the province.

Mshengu said the department expected teachers working at schools ready to welcome back learners to report to work.

He said at the least, school principals should report to work on Monday so they could assist the department in preparation for next week.

The MEC said teachers who had reported to work on Monday are appreciated, including those who were at the school he visited on Monday.

He said on Monday morning he met with all unions and stakeholders where it was agreed that a sizeable number of schools in the province are ready to welcome learners back.

This week would be used for orientation and training of teachers in terms of Covid-19 safety measures, Mshengu said.

Mshengu said the department was working tirelessly to ensure that schools are ready on 8 June.

“Every day now, we are working hard as a department,” said Mshengu.

He said 10 schools, some of which had been vandalised, had been given mobile classrooms and the school principals had been empowered to make the necessary procurements to deal with issues such as broken windows or doors.

Mshengu assured parents that the department was working to ensure that schools were a safe environment for their children and for teachers.

He said as of Friday, about 4,400, of an estimated total of 6,000, schools were ready, adding that he expected that figure to rise as work was done over the weekend.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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