The IFP calls on the KZN MEC of Education, Kwazi Mshengu, to publish comprehensive plans explaining which schools are being provided with emergency water, masks, sanitizers and toilets, and what the timelines are for delivering these services in each district.
When we as Members of the KZN Legislature, visited different schools in the uMkhanyakude District we found that some schools still have no water, food, security personnel, no sanitation and only one mask per learner. We were also concerned about the confusion caused by the KZN Department of Education regarding the employment of those who will perform the screening of learners. According to their first circular, two screeners would be employed. Then another circular was issued, informing the schools that only one person would be employed. This uncertainty causes unnecessary tension amongst members of the public. Teachers and SGBs have stated that they don’t know what is expected from them, a clear indication that there is a lack of training from the Department of Education.
Furthermore, the IFP has been reliably informed that there is a water shortage at Bizimali High School in Nkandla. Learners who reside outside the school will also be facing water shortages. We believe that it is unlikely that hundreds of schools will meet the minimum standards for reopening.
This is of great concern to the IFP because on 30 April the government published new guidelines for the reopening of schools during the pandemic. These included compulsory masks for pupils, hand sanitiser to be provided by the schools and “hand washing soap, gloves … and thermometers”. Government said that where there were no taps in schools, the Department of Water and Sanitation would install water tanks and provide water trucks to fill them. Thousands of portable toilets would be supplied to schools that have pit latrines. But this is not the case for many schools in KZN.
We are highly concerned about the state of readiness in rural schools. It is incumbent upon the KZN Department of Education to ensure that all schools are ready before the 1st of June. The safety of our teachers and learners is non-negotiable.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha Mthethwa MPL
IFP Spokesperson on Education
071 884 3844