South Africa: Better Safe Than Sorry - SA Public Remains Sceptical About Schools Opening During the Pandemic

analysis

Schools reopened on 26 July 2021 with the expectation that all primary school learners are expected to go back to school daily from Monday 2 August 2021, for the first time in over a year. The reopening of schools comes after the country was placed on adjusted level 4 on 28 June 2021 and schools were once again closed.

Carin Runciman is the Director of the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg. Benjamin Roberts is a Research Director and Coordinator of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) in the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division, HSRC.

The closure and partial closure of schools over the course of the pandemic has had a significant effect on education. A study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) led by Dr Vijay Reddy has demonstrated that the pandemic-related school disruption has likely set the country back by an estimated five years in educational outcomes, and will compound existing educational inequalities.

The move to fully re-open schools has been welcomed by the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) however, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has raised concerns about the readiness of some schools to reopen....

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