'We will never provide support to somebody who says a learner must repeat the grade' - Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visits Randburg Clinic School to assess preparedness ahead of the school reopenings.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visits Randburg Clinic School to assess preparedness ahead of the school reopenings.
Azarrah Karrim, New24

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has discouraged parents from allowing their children to repeat the academic year as a result of Covid-19, warning them that they will not receive support from the department.

Lesufi was speaking at a tour of Randburg Clinic School in Johannesburg – a school for special needs pupils– on Thursday.

"We have taken a posture that we will provide support to everyone, but we will never provide support to somebody who says a learner must repeat the grade – we will never.

"We believe we must never have a generation of failures, a generation that has never gone to school. That would be an indictment to the future of our country," Lesufi said.

READ | 'Don't stand in way' of those who want to return - Motshekga confident schools are ready to open

"So, let's find a balance between preserving lives and ensuring that learners get their education," he added.

Back to normal

The MEC pointed out that many other countries affected by Covid-19 were also going back to normal.

"Where the virus has gone through, people are starting to go back. We are not the only ones going back on 1 June. The UK is going back on 1 June as well."

ALSO READ | Teachers at 2 more Western Cape schools test positive for Covid-19

He emphasised the importance of pupils' return to school.

"We don't know how long we will be caught in this Covid-19 [pandemic], so any decision that might be short term might harm the learner in the long term.

"Even if you can do things online, the guidance of a teacher becomes paramount," Lesufi said.

He assured parents and pupils that all relevant systems were put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools.

The MEC has been visiting schools across the province this week, assessing preparations.

Pupils in grades 7 and 12 will be the first to return on 1 June.

NOW READ | Covid-19: Find homeschooling information here

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