Department of Basic Education
The decision to delay reopening schools in 2021 was based on a request from the ministry of health.
The portfolio committee on basic education confirmed this in a statement following a briefing by the basic education department on the Covid-19 basic education sector risk-based plan for the start of the 2021 academic year.
According to the committee, the request to delay arose because health institutions are overstretched due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The committee chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, expressed support for the decision to delay the reopening of schools.
“If delaying the restart of schools means that we can save family and friends, then we are in favour of this”, she said.
As regards marking for the 2020 National Senior Certificate examinations, marking occurred in all provinces in 177 marking centres.
The department informed the committee that marks should be finalised on Friday, 22 January, as the majority of provinces have already completed marking with only two provinces still marking some papers.
The department assured the committee that this work will be completed timeously.
In its briefing, the department confirmed that the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 had recommended that Early Childhood Development Centers and primary schools should continue to open as planned while maintaining a risk-mitigated environment for children and staff.
The MAC had also recommended that the opening of high schools should be delayed for two weeks so that the trajectory of the current community transmission can be assessed.
School Management Teams and teachers should start to return from 25 January 2021 to prepare for the return of learners set for 15 February 2021.