Live stream: Basic education minister finalises school programme
Pupils, parents and teachers are expecting the minister to provide clarity on the reopening of schools.
On Thursday afternoon, the department of basic education (DBE) is scheduled to provide clarity on the school year and the impact lockdown has had on the curriculum.
Following numerous delays, which began on Monday morning when DBE Minister Angie Motshekga snubbed a media briefing in favour of further consultation with the National Command Council (NCC), details concerning the contentious reopening of schools are expected to be finalised on Thursday.
Minister Angie Motshekga delays briefing after outcry
The minister’s long-awaited address follows a particularly controversial presentation by the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. During the digital address, the Director-General of Basic Education, Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, presented proposals which would see learners returning to class on 6 May.
The release of this ‘proposed draft’ was met with fierce condemnation. Teachers, pupils and parents alike lambasted Mweli and the DBE for recommending that schools reopen amid the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak. It’s argued that the pandemic, which is expected to peak in South Africa in September, would spread uncontrollably through the schooling system, putting children and those they come into contact with in grave danger of infection.
Watch: Basic education department discusses reopening of schools
(Note: The live stream below is expected to begin at 16:30)
Following the outcry, Deputy Minister for the Department of Basic Education, Reginah Mhaule, reiterated that the tentative dates delivered by Mweli remained unauthorised and would likely be amended by Motshekga. The department, however, noted that the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education’s briefing was the ‘final leg’ of the consultative process, hinting that the draft presented by Mweli was not far off the final mark.
The ‘final’ verdict on the 2020 school programme was initially due to be delivered on Thursday morning at 10:00; however, cabinet consultations forced yet another postponement of the briefing.
The Government Communication Information System (GCIS) confirmed that the briefing would take place at 16:30 on Thursday 30 April.