- Jan 22, 2005
Teacher unions have hit out at the government following its decision to allow private schools to remain open, while public schools will “take a break” from July 27 until August 24.
'Why treat private schools so special?'
Johannesburg – Teacher unions have hit out at the government following its decision to allow private schools to remain open.
On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that public schools would “take a break” from July 27 until August 24, while private schools were given the go-ahead to remain open.
While unions such as the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) have come out in support of the one-month break for public schools following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, they expressed concern at the decision to allow private schools to remain open.
“This thing of perpetuating the inequalities has got to stop,” said Sadtu general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke.
“We have got to confront this so we are then able to have one education system in our country where, when everybody has got to close, we close and when we come back, we come back.”
This was echoed by the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA .
“One of the main issues we are concerned about is this differentiation with the private schools,” said executive director Basil Manuel.
“It just entrenches differences and it suggests private schools don’t have the issues that we have. We have one minister so why are we treating this group with kid gloves? It reinforces two things - the differences between private and public schools and that people with money continue to be treated like they are extra special. It’s a highly unfair decision and not one we would embrace.”
Manuel added, however, that they would not be challenging government’s decision.
“I don’t think people have a taste for it to be quite honest. It would make a hell of a lot of noise. What we need is an urgent meeting before they publish regulations to discuss our issues, otherwise when the regulations are published, we are going to have an even bigger job trying to undo some of the things.”
The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools believes government hasn’t acted in the best interests of learners. “The decision to allow private schools to stay open deepens and entrenches inequality,” said chief executive Paul Colditz.
“The same applies to the public schools. The minority of public schools will continue with online and distance learning, so they won’t be affected. Those children who need it the most are the children that should have been at school now. So the decision does not make any sense to me.”
Dennis Bloem, the spokesperson for Cope, said the decision has split the education system into two, between private and public schools.
He said the advice of the World Health Organization did not distinguish which school system would be affected by Covid-19.
You cannot reason with this crab mentality...