With a week to go before schools reopen, a number of Eastern Cape schools are still not compliant with Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
These were the findings of a survey undertaken by education union the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA [Naptosa].
The survey, the latest of five carried out by the union since May, was undertaken at national level and includes a provincial breakdown.
The survey received 7,162 responses from school principals across the country. Of those responses 18%, or 1,289, were from the Eastern Cape.
Naptosa Eastern Cape CEO Loyiso Mbinda said the survey was distributed to over 5,000 public schools in the province.
Although schools had received personal protective equipment (PPE), water, water tanks and mobile toilets, he said maintenance of these essentials was still unclear.
The union was in the dark and had not received clear plans or updates from the department, Mbinda added.
“As a union, we are highly suspicious that Eastern Cape schools are not ready to open next Monday,” he said.
“Even if we were to meet the department for the scheduled Saturday meetings, we don’t think anything would change.”
Education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said the department had empowered SGBs and school management teams to use their budgets to top up requirements for PPEs and water tanks.
“Schools have been operational for some time since other grades were returned,” Pulumani said.
He said schools had undertaken their own due diligence to ensure their readiness to accept the rest of the grades.
“They have done this with the full support of the circuit and district management teams,” Pulumani said.
Of the schools that responded to the survey in the province, 54% said they would have an adequate water supply by next week.
Some 24% said they were still waiting for water tanks, while 85% of schools said they would have sufficient masks by Monday.
Sixty-seven percent said they would have sufficient cleaning equipment, while 77% said there would be enough sanitiser for pupils.
“There was a call for evaluation on whether the amount of alcohol in sanitisers was enough,” Mbinda said. “Despite that, the department hasn’t furnished us with that information.”
By Gugu Phandle HeraldLIVE