Sadtu North West

15 learners from the Eastern Cape were injured in an accident. Photo: Adobe Stock.

North West Education department not ready to receive teachers: Sadtu

The teacher’s union Sadtu claims the Department of Education in the North West is not ready to receive teachers and support staff on Monday 25 May.

Sadtu North West

15 learners from the Eastern Cape were injured in an accident. Photo: Adobe Stock.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the North West says its members will not report for duty on 25 May.  

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced recently that teachers would return to schools on Monday 25 May to prepare for the phased restart of the academic year.

Union calls out poor preparation in North West

The union, however, says that the North West Department of Education have not met the basic threshold for safety.

Learners in Grade 7 and 12 are due to return to classrooms on 1 June, although Motshekga has made it clear that parents who have reservations will not be forced to send their kids back to school.

Sadtu’s provincial secretary, Els Themba, slammed the provincial department of the North West, saying that a large number of schools had yet to be deep cleaned, per the guidelines handed down by Mothsekga.

“Close to more than a thousand schools in the province have not been cleaned and disinfected. The other aspect that we have raised as an organisation, is that some of our own members across other provinces have not even received their own permits, and therefore they cannot travel. In one school, with 37 members or staff members in that particular school, only eight masks were delivered and as such we have said that the lives of our members are in danger.”

Sadtu in the North West held a special Provincial Executive Committee meeting to receive and progress the report from the Provincial steering committee on the state of readiness for the re-opening of schools.

Sadtu listed a litany of failures by the department in a lengthy exposition calling for the government to stop grandstanding and implement consistent safety measures.

Sadtu chief concerns

  • By Thursday 20t May 2020 1410 schools out of 1621 schools in the province were not cleaned and disinfected according to the report we received.
  • Some educators to date have not received permits to travel across the province and within.
  • The PPE’s already supplied were meant for only SMT’s and not the entire staff, which was not enough to cater for all expected employees on Monday 25 May 2020. For example, in one school of 37 employees, they only received eight masks, screener and two-litre sanitiser.
  • The Screeners are not yet appointed.
  • Some schools don’t have running water and such is not yet addressed.
  • There are no clear guidelines provided to deal with comorbidities.

The North West Department of Education have denied that they have completely failed teachers, claiming they are in the ‘process of making sure’ they comply with regulations and COVID-19 guidelines.

“We are very much shocked by the statement made by Sadtu because they were part and parcel of the consultative meetings that were held between the department led by the MEC during the week,” Spokesperson for the North West Department of Education, Elias Malindi said in response.

“We all agreed that the department is going to comply with the COVID-19 regulations. So, we are in that process of making sure that we comply with all the regulations that we have stated with them.” 

North West is one of four provinces that were picked out by Motshekga for lagging behind in preparations for the restart of the school year alongside Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.