Sat, Sep 18, 2021

So many unanswered questions regarding SA schools opening

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By Mmabore

All grades are back to school with other children going to school in different days to adhere to lockdown rules. Some schools in rural areas were closed since lockdown with no communication between teachers and learners. Most of the learners started getting school work in August 2020 while other school children in urban areas or private schools had school work since March 2020 taking advantage of technology. As per Department of Education there won’t be pass one pass all. What does that mean? Are certain chapters going to be skipped? Will school children be overloaded with work? Will the children be able to cope until exams? Will the teachers and children be able to cover the syllabus? What will the results of those children who started school in August look like? Will this affect children from disadvantaged backgrounds badly? Are teachers in rural areas overloaded with work too? What are the teachers organisation say? Will this inequality end? Will this affect parents too?

Reopening of schools. Have stakeholders been consulted

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by Amo Tshabalala

Minister Angie Motshekga’s call of resuming the school on the 01 June 2020 has been received with mixed feelings and so many questions have been raised. The country has just conducted around 500 thousand tests which a very small proportion of the total population. Has the decision been made after wide consultations? We are always preaching the consultation gospel but the government is not paying heed to the calls. This simply means that we are being told what to do and our views do not matter. Looking at the rate the virus is spreading and the death toll so far it i worrying for children to go back to school. Let us work together and make South Africa a better place to be and to shine to.

stayhomeandbesafe.

Are we ready for opening schools?

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I have been asking myself questions regarding Grade 7 learners going back to school, are teachers ready to welcome the learners or even teach, what are the ways that will be used for teaching, will learners share text books, is their safety guaranteed? What is also worrying is that the Parliament is not still closed yet learners are asked to go back to school. Meanwhile, Welamlambo Public School is a higher primary school in Tembisa at Welamlambo section and passing by on 1 June, I realised that only disinfection taking place and chairs and tables were put out side to have them cleaned. This is despite the claim that schools in Gauteng are ready to open but that’s not what on the ground and I strongly feel that it is a grave miscalculation for learners to go back to school as there is are no measures yet to quarantee maximum safety for learners and teachers.

Mixed feelings over reopening of schools

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by Rapule Moiloa

Interacting with someone regarding school reopening in South Africa to hear her views and how she feels about her kid going back to school I realised that some parents feel that in as far as they dont want their children to miss out on their studies, they are worried about their safety as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise. She said that it is very unfortunate that the pandemic has put a stop not only on education but everything so all she could say is that it is not yet safe for children to go back to school.

On another note…people have different ways of understanding the same thing and it’s problematic. I have realised that in many places a lot of people do not have the same understanding of social distancing. Looking at the informal traders out side Palm Springs Mall failing to maintain social distance is worrying because some of the people won’t be putting on face masks and the question is if adults fail to keep social distance what about the children?

Parents question the re-opening of schools

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By Dorothy Mabelebele

People on social media have been discussing about the decision taken by the Department of Education on the re-opening of schools during the lockdown. Parents are not agreeing with the re-opening of schools whilst the number of COVID-19 tested positive cases continue to rise drastically alongside rising deaths cases. Looking at the main issue of South Africa easing the lockdown, parents are worried about getting their children back to school. Even though the Minister of Education Angie Motshekga assured the parents that compliance will be enforced based on the sanitation measures, availability of water, provision of masks and enforcing social distancing in the schools.

Parents are worried that children won’t comply with the rules and regulations around COVID-19 since they wont be able to put on masks for the whole day and parents also argue that even though schools can be sanitized, there is high risk of infecting each other as pupils come from different families where some family members might be infected by the virus.

Motshekga said as of 4 May, senior managers in the education sector will return to work to prepare for the reopening of schools. The senior managers will then be followed by school management teams on 11 May 2020. Teachers will, based on the proposal, only return to work on 18 May 2020. Due to unfinished preparations, May/June exams are postponed. Motshekga urged parents who attend fee-paying schools to keep paying fees. This follows reports that in some schools, parents did not pay fees, which affected the salaries of SGB-appointed teachers, who are not on government’s payroll but rather receive their income from the school fees.

Sefikile parents bemoan lack of consultation in reopening of schools and not happy with going back to work

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by Amo Tshabalala

I have listened with disappointment the speech of the Minister of Education, Mrs Angy Motshegwa, that our kids have to go back to school when workers are still at home. There is even a time table on when learners are going back to school. Do we have a say on what the government decides or not? Since this COVID 19 is deadly, I think we as parents should be consulted as the risk is high. Do we have a say on matters affecting our lives? The community of Sefikile is more concerned about their children since they are going back to school and some parents feel like they should wait for the virus infections to recede before their kids could go back to school, saying that they should be consulted and have a say about their children’s well being.

Meanwhile, the opening of mines in Sefikile community worries us because of the health risk posed to our families. However, somehow feel that we have nothing to do since everyone else is going back to work and if you try to voice your concerns you will get fired. As for our families depend on us and we can’t disappoint them by not going back to work. We have to go back to work even if we don’t like it due to the obtaining crisis and we just hope that all necessary steps will be taken for our safety and also that of our families.No one answered but all in one said they shod be cancelled at ones for protection of their kids. They said it themselves that it is going to be bad for kids to distance them towards each other as they used to be close to each other and friends to each other.

Learning taken to WhatsApp

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Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa Ekurhuleni

Teachers in Lesotho did not allow the lock down period to disrupt education nor put education on hold due to the current situation that has struck the world and forced countries to be on lock down but have decided to be in contact with parents and learners using WhatsApp as an educational platform so that learners may continue learning. They are affording learners at least three days per week from 5pm to 8pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Learners submit their work on Friday via Whatsapp. There seems to be clear coordination between teachers and parents as they hold children to account in cases where learners fail to do the needful.

Meanwhile…Parents fears and concerns are not just about kids going back to school, how many schools are vandalised or food that will be served at schools to the learners but their kids’ health and safety. The question is how will schools monitor learners in lower grades for children play any how? how will social distancing be maintained in classes during lunch hour and after school and will the educators be able to handle the pressure of seeing to it that rules and regulations are followed, are schools prepared to manage the risk? However instead of parents chilling out in the street doing nothing but talking about things that are not of use to children it is better for them to educate children about corona virus and prepare them for back to school in this crisis.

Extension of the lockdown worrying

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Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa…The 16th of April marked the end of episode 1 of the South African lock down and the episode 2 started on 17 April. People are asking each other if these lock downs will really end as they are worried about rentals which are due, school fees, food and other important things. The issue that some of the people are happy with is that alcohol is not being sold because taverns are in between houses and that crime rate is now low.

Lack of technology affects quality of education in public schools

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Some of children who go public schools don’t have access to phones or computers. The last time they spoke to their educators was on 17 March 2020 when the schools closed. Yes it is lockdown and children are at home but it looks as if those with no access to technological gadgets will be affected on their year end results. Is the education department working on ways to improve the quality of education not only in the time of COVID-19 but for future purposes? Links for downloading study guides and textbooks are issued but for people who can not afford data, it is really a problem as there are no WIFI facilities nearby. Public schools children will be overloaded with work once the schools re-open. Isn’t e-school supposed to be for all?

The pain of a boy who misses his parents

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By: Francisco…On February 20, we interviewed a 10-year-old boy living in the Liberdade neighborhood, he was selling coconut cakes and looking very concentrated and apparently feeling isolated.

Asked about his name and where he lived, the little boy replied that his name was Sawali and that he lived right in front of the place that sold the cookies, specifically in the Liberdade neighborhood, Matola city and Maputo province.

Little Sawali is 10 years old and attends 4th grade at the Escola Primária da Liberdade. This boy, lives with his grandmother and sister, daughter of his aunt and his mother’s sister. Questioned about the whereabouts of his parents, moved, the little one said that the mother had died and his father is in another province, specifically in Gaza and lives with another woman and children.

1. When you go to school, who is selling the cookies?

Sawali says that no one is selling the cookies, sometimes when he returns early from school sells them.

2. What has your Mana been doing?

She hasn’t done anything, sometimes she helps our grandmother, but there are few times she has done it, it depends on her mood and her willingness to do it.

3. In relation to your father, have you spoken to him? Have they visited you?

“I spoke to him one day on his cell phone, but it was a long time ago, he never came to visit me, I was the one who visited him, but it was also a long time ago.”

Noticing little Sawali’s shyness and emotion in relation to this conversation, we chose to change the subject, asking him, what he wants to be when he grows up, promptly stated that he wants to be a professional football player and that he had Messe, the Jersey 10 from Barcelona as his idol.

4. Can you mention any rights of child?

• “The child has the right to play, study, pray and grow up.”

He is such a brilliant child who endures the pain of having lost his mother and lack of support from the father.

A dor de um menino que sente a falta dos pais

Por: Francisco Manhique

Figura 1. Foto desfocada, com vista a preservar a imagem do menino.

Figure 1. Blurred photo, in order to preserve the boy’s image.

No dia 20 de Fevereiro entrevistamos um menino de 10 anos residente no bairro da liberdade, ele vendia bolinhos de coco e estava com aspecto muito concentrado e aparentemente sentindo-se isolado.

Questionado sobre o seu nome e onde morava, o pequeno menino respondeu que se chamava Sawali e que residia logo em frente em relação ao local que vendia os bolinhos, concretamente no bairro da liberdade, cidade da Matola e província de Maputo.

O pequeno Sawali tem 10 anos e frequenta a 4ª classe na Escola Primária da Liberdade. Este menino, vive com a avo, Mãe de sua Mãe e mana, filha de sua tia, irmã de sua Mãe. Questionado sobre o paradeiro dos pais, emocionado, o pequeno disse que a Mãe tivera falecido e o seu pai está numa outra província, especificamente em Gaza e vive com uma outra mulher e filhos.

  1. Quando vais a escola, quem fica a vender os bolinhos?

Sawali afirma que ninguém fica a vender os bolinhos, por vezes, quando volta cedo da Escola, retorna na venda dos mesmos, e qualquer trabalho da escola tem realizado enquanto vende.

  • Oque sua Mana tem feito?

Ela não tem feito nada, por vezes ajuda a nossa avó, mas são poucas as vezes em que tem feito, depende do seu humor e sua boa vontade o fazer.

  • Em relação ao seu pai, tens falado com ele? Ele têm-te visitado?

“Falei com ele um dia ao telemóvel, mas já faz muito tempo, ele nunca veio visitar-me, eu é que fui um dia lhe visitar, mas também faz muito tempo.

Notando a timidez e a emoção do pequeno Sawali em relação a essa conversa, optamos por mudar de assunto, perguntando-lhe, oque ele quer ser quando crescer, prontamente, afirmou que quer ser um jogador profissional de futebol e que tinha Messe, o Camisola 10 do Barcelona como seu ídolo.

  • Podes mencionar alguns direitos da criança?
  • “a criança tem direito de Brincar”;
  • De estudar;
  • De rezar; e
  • Crescer.

Esses são alguns dos direitos da criança mencionados por este menino que sente a dor de ter perdido a sua mãe e clara auxência de seu pai.