Tshepo Mmusi

Klerksdorp, Jouberton Township

28 February 2021

Children are back to school after a long break. On the 15th of February was official opening of schools and teachers and pupils are expected to be in full swing in class rooms. I visited one of our local schools in Jouberton by the name of Sediko primary school just to observe and have talks with the school principal about the state of their school in adjusted level 3 of lockdown. The school principal who did not want to be named agreed to share his views about his school, he indicated that everything was all in order in as far as covid 19 regulations compliance is concerned. Posters informing learners, educators and supporting staff about precautionary measures to covid 19 could be seen on the walls in classrooms, walls around the school and the staff room.

A worrying concern that the school principal raised was that of teachers who are above the ages of fifty years and those who have chronic illnesses who have been taking time off to work from home. The challenge is that the department of basic education promised to provide schools with temporary teachers to replace them, but so far nothing has happened and this put a lot of strain to other teachers and him. He is now forced to instruct teachers who teach lower grades to assist, to which pose a problem that those teachers are not specialising with content they are supposed to offer in higher grades. He points out that last year’s results were not satisfactory, and he is now worried that, the way things are going the same results will be repeated. He continued to say that such teachers claim that they are sick and that they are unable to come to work and that they want to work from home. How does a teacher work from home, because a core function of a teacher is to stand in class and teach. How do they do that from home. Meanwhile many of those teachers claiming to be sick, are seen doing their shopping in malls and gallivanting the streets of the township.

On the other side, children are attending school on certain days in order to comply with covid 19 regulation of social distancing. Is our education system failing our children? This needs to be escalated to higher offices of the department of basic education.