Today’s presentation about the reopening of schools to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee has apparently caused great consternation. The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) says it is specifically the slide on which it is indicated that schools will reopen for teachers on 4 May and for Grade 12 and 7 learners on 6 May that caused confusion.
“This is exactly the same presentation made to governing body organisations at a meeting with the Minister of Basic Education on Sunday, 26 April 2020. We’ve made it clear to the Minister and her representatives that we cannot support these proposed dates because there are still too many uncertainties,” says Mr Paul Colditz, CEO of FEDSAS.
Colditz says although the Minister did not commit to a date there were enough indications that she was in agreement with the governing body organisations. FEDSAS is also aware of other governing body organisations and teachers’ unions that share this point of view.
“However, instead of communicating in a clear and coherent manner with the public, this presentation just caused more consternation and speculation, even though, almost as an afterthought, it was mentioned that the Minister is yet to do a formal announcement.”
FEDSAS will not support any plan that does not carefully and deliberately put the safety of our children and teachers at schools at the forefront. Although FEDSAS appreciates the difficult position in which the Minister finds herself, the organisation is concerned that this very important matter was not communicated to the public in a proper and open manner. Proper communication was one of the aspects that FEDSAS requested at the first meeting with senior managers at the Department of Basic Education.
“We call on FEDSAS members not to express ill-informed opinions or spread news that is not official. Let us rather wait for the official announcement by the Minister. It is her responsibility and her prerogative,” says Colditz.
(FEDSAS is a voluntary association of school governing bodies of public schools and supports quality education in these schools. More than 2000 public schools are already members of FEDSAS).