KwaZulu-Natal education officials on Thursday insisted that teaching and learning would resume on Monday because they could not afford to lose the academic year.
MEC Kwazi Mshengu outlined the province’s R57 billion budget for the 2020-2021 financial year and suggested that most schools would be ready to receive pupils next week.
However, Mshengu received strong criticism from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which argued that the provincial Department of Education was ill-prepared to resume teaching and learning.
The IFP’s Mntomuhle Khawula said it was hypocritical of government to insist on the reopening of schools while public representatives were still meeting virtually in a bid to avoid contracting COVID-19.
“Parliament authorities are scared of contracting COVID-19, yet educators and learners are expected to be physically present in schools,” he said.
The EFF’s Nomvuyelelo Dlamini accused government of prioritising the interests of tenderpreneurs who stood to benefit from supplying masks and sanitisers to schools in the wake of the pandemic.
“The call for the reopening of the schools is motivated by the capital gain than concern that teachers and learners might lose the academic year,” she said.
Mshengu insisted that only schools that had been declared safe would reopen.
Meanwhile, teacher unions in the province said they wanted teaching and learning to resume at the same time at all schools to avoid inequality among pupils.