South Africa: Education Monitors Developments On Coronavirus

Graphic illustrating the economic impact of COVID-19.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has assured South Africans that precautionary measures against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are being taken at schools.

"We have sent a circular to all our schools to provide guidelines on what to do in terms of general hygiene standards," the Minister said.

Addressing a media briefing on Monday in Tshwane, the Minister said her department is in constant communication with the Department of Health as its leading the interventions regarding the management of cases.

"There are basic things that we have advised schools to encourage learners to do such as washing their hands, covering their mouths when they cough, avoiding contact with sick people and avoiding touching their ears, eyes and nose. Seek medical help if you are sick," Motshekga said.

She said as the Department of Health will communicate should any announcements be made specifically on the Coronavirus.

"We constantly communicate with the provinces, as far as the health department assessment we have not reached a level where we can panic. We are taking all the precautionary measures but we don't want to unnecessarily create panic when there is no need for it," she said.

The Minister was briefing members of the media on the developments in the basic education sector, following the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) meeting that was held last week.

Registration of undocumented learners

The Minister reminded all schools that the admission of undocumented learners in public schools is immediately realizable in terms of a judgement that was handed down in the matter in December 2019.

"Any school that does not admit undocumented learners, may be faced with litigation. We therefore urge all schools to comply with the court judgement," Motshekga said.

The Minister said the Department of Home Affairs will be visiting schools to register learners, who do not have identity documents.

"Parents and guardians are requested to assist in this regard. Do not leave children to their own devises. Assist the authorities to obtain all the necessary information required for registration of children by home affairs," she said.

Matric exams

The CEM has approved the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Senior Certificate examination calendars.

This year's NSC will begin on 19 October and will be concluded on 26 November.

The May/June 2020 matric re-write will take place from 4 May to 11 June. The results for these exams will be released on 30 July 2020.

"The 2020 timetables were also drafted after consultation with all religious organisations to accommodate their religious holidays. The council urges all learners and teachers to prepare for the examinations.

"Once again we appeal to members of the public to protect schools, especially during exam time, when additional measures need to be put in place to create a conducive environment for revision," Motshekga said.

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