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SAHRC out to monitor schools' readiness to reopen

25 May‎ ‎2020

Pretoria - From this week, the South African Human Rights Commission will be seeing to it that the Department of Basic Education lives up to its promise of ensuring the safety and readiness to reopen schools across the country.
Commissioner, advocate Andre Gaum said they would be starting the nationwide monitoring of schools' readiness.
Gaum said in that process they would be involving other stakeholders from civil society who formed part of their Covid-19 committee in terms of the legislation. He said they would be visiting schools to ensure that crucial infrastructure such as access to water and sanitation, personal protective equipment, cleaning and sterilisation, as well as physical distancing were in place and provided for.
“The most important factor is to ensure the safety of the teachers and the learners.
"We will not be able to visit all schools but we will make sure that we visit schools from all quintiles and various districts.”

With South Africa having approximately 25000 schools, the commission will be using its provincial offices and stakeholders to assess a sample of schools in each province and present and discuss its findings with the department.
Gaum said in instances where they picked up problems and potential violations, they would take the matter up with the respective provincial departments and the national department.
“While the right to a basic education is a very important right, it can’t take the space of the right to health. That is why our monitoring process will check the readiness to receive learners and staff.”

As it stood, Gaum said, they were in contact with the minister and MECs on some of the issues they wanted clarity on.
He said at the moment, and with Covid-19 reported to be around for some time, they could not specify a cut-off time for the monitoring process. As of June 1 schools are to reopen in a phased manner starting off with Grades 7 and 12.
The restart of learners in other grades will be announced later.

Source: ANA

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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