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.
"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."
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.