ANC Basic Education Study Group Statement on the delay of school reopening of schools

17 January 2021

The ANC Basic Education Study Group has welcomed the decision by the Department of Basic Education to readjust the academic calendar year due the overwhelming increase in COVID – 19 infections nation-wide.

Education remains an apex priority of the African National Congress, and it is through education that the majority of our people can change their lives for the better.

In times like these, as a nation, the ANC Study Group on Basic Education believes that we should prioritise our health system to protect lives and livelihoods.

The increase in infections has strained our health system demanding vigilance of all South Africans in lowering the infection rate of the virus through wearing masks, keeping a social distance, and always sanitizing. Together as a nation we can triumph.

Consequently, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has seen the second wave of COVID-19 being prevalent amongst the youth. This has further strained the health System, necessitating the extension for the reopening of schools to 15 February 2021.

As the ANC Study Group on Basic Education, we support the decision by the National Coronavirus Command Council on the decision to delay the reopening of public and private schools.

We commend the Department of Basic Education for successfully completing the 2020 school calendar under conditions of a pandemic, this required the department to adapt to the risky conditions without experience of managing such a health crisis. The risk adjusted strategy has enabled the department to ensure Grade 12 learners successfully complete the 2020 school calendar.

We further welcome the progress by the examination markers who will complete the marking as scheduled, despite the second wave of the rapid increase of infections.

We mourn with all families of examination markers, teachers, school leadership and support staff in our schools who have passed on as a result of the pandemic. Our priority should always be to protect lives.

As the Study Group of the ANC, we will play our oversight role to the executive to ensure that, based on the risk adjusted strategy, the reopening for learners on 15 February 2021 is smooth as a result of preparations which comply with the health protocols. Drawing from the experience of 2020, the ANC Study Group is confident that despite the inequality in our schools in rural and urban areas, our learners will return to schools to continue with their development.

Issued by the ANC Study Group on Basic Education

For more information contact the Whip on Basic Education

Comrade Nombuyiselo Adoons on 072 661 5765,za