South African schools ready to reopen: minister

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South Africa is ready to reopen schools on July 26 as COVID-19 figures are reducing and measures have been put in place to reduce transmission, said the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga on Saturday, while briefing the media in Pretoria about the country’s readiness to open schools.

“Depending on confirmation by the President tomorrow after Cabinet, as a sector there is agreement across the board, that we are ready for the reopening of schools on Monday, July 26. The Sector continues to be committed, and at all times we are ready to maintain a balance between saving lives and livelihoods, while fighting the coronavirus pandemic,” said Motshekga.

She said the education sector has managed 89 percent vaccination of 517,000 people.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruptions in the Sector; and our plans have not always gone as we intended. This has, however, not deterred us from continuing to plan, as we are confident that at some point, we will find a way to return to normal business. Earlier this year we published the school calendar for 2022. As usual, we followed the necessary steps that involve public participation to obtain input,” she said.

Motshekga regretted that 180 schools have been broken into or vandalized since the beginning of the year and during protest recently.

“This is unprecedented, and we are concerned as a sector, that much needed school infrastructure was damaged. This is a serious setback, as the sector is already under pressure to provide appropriate facilities for the schooling system. We want to express our deep concern about what has happened in our schools in recent weeks,” She said.

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