PODCAST | THE STORY: Schools under pressure as SA's Covid-19 pandemic gains momentum

  • South African schools are feeling the pinch as unions and political parties share conflicting views on the reopening of schools.
  • The World Health Organisation said the opening of schools in any country is only safe in the context of low community transmissions of Covid-19.
  • The South African Human Rights Commission said it supports children being back in school.

On this week's episode of The Story, we try to make sense of what lies ahead for South Africa's fraught education system, and the country's schoolchildren, in the midst of an unpredictable pandemic.

On Tuesday, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) resolved that schools should close until the Covid-19 peak had passed.

Political parties have also added their voices, with some supporting the unions' call to close schools, while others rejected the idea.

ALSO READ | Sadtu says schools should close until Covid-19 peak passes

On the other hand, the South African Human Rights Commission said it supported children going back to school, based on Unicef's position that pupils return to schools as soon as possible.

In light of a warning by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with regard to the reopening of schools while Covid-19 is approaching its peak, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the matter is currently under discussion.

Ramaphosa, who is known for his consensus-building approach to issues, said the debate and discussion on whether schools should or should not reopen must not be "finger-pointing" exercises, but a way to seek solutions and chart a way around the matter.

We speak to News24 journalist Sesona Ngqakamba, who covered Sadtu's resolution on closing schools amid the peak of Covid-19 infections in the country.

We are also joined by News24's senior political reporter Tshidi Madia, who helps us unpack the views shared by various political parties on the matter.

You can listen to the episode on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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