#SchoolStayAway: Basic Education dept not ruling out going to court for protection amid disruptions

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • Some schools experienced disruptions on Friday.
  • There is a call for a national stay away under the hashtag #SchoolStayAway. 
  • The basic education department urged aggrieved organisations behind the campaign to engage their political counterparts and not use schools for posturing. 

Approaching the courts to stop disruptions at schools might be an option for the Department of Basic Education.

Some schools across the country were disrupted on Friday by groups of people who called for the closure of schools during the country's peak Covid-19 infection period.

One South Africa Movement (OSAM), led by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, called for a national stay away under the hashtag #SchoolStayAway. 

The organisation said the stay away was initiated to send a strong message to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the government that "concerned citizens, parents, and teachers are opposed to the unsafe reopening of schools and the risks it poses".

OSA proposed that the curriculum be adjusted to make up for lost time.  

The department's Council of Education Ministers (CEM), led by Motshekga, met on Friday morning to discuss the latest developments since the second group of pupils returned to school on Monday. 

As the CEM met, disruptions were reported at the department's head office in Pretoria and at various schools.

In a statement, the department said it was regrettable that political and civic organisations were choosing schools for political posturing while the department was working on creating safe environments for teaching and learning amid Covid-19.

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The CEM appealed to all aggrieved political and civic organisations to rather engage with their political counterparts and authorities.

"Failure to desist from these regrettable acts will leave us no choice but to exercise our options as per the dictates of the South African Schools Act (No. 84 of 1996), to make sure we protect our schools, educators, learners and the rights and interests of parents who wish to take their children back to school," said Motshekga.

Motshekga added that it was disappointing that the organisations behind the stay away failed to recognise efforts the department made to provide alternatives for parents who wished to keep their children at home because of anxiety and fear. 

She urged those who were aggrieved to not interfere with the rights of the other parents who did not have any issues sending their children back.

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