Solidarity today expressed its support for the continuation of the school year despite the coronavirus peak. This comes after the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) earlier today demanded that the schools be closed again during the peak period.
Solidarity Deputy CEO for Legal Affairs and Research, Werner Human explains: “Every day of postponing the school year only causes further damage to our children’s psychological and educational development. Instead of constantly looking for reasons to stop teaching, we should rather come up with innovative ideas to keep school going as far as possible.”
Solidarity further contends that this matter should be considered at grassroots level and that schools themselves have a better idea of how, and whether they should open, rather than following a one size fits all approach.
“All over the world we already see what fruits a decentralised approach has. Schools have already come up with creative solutions –such as a teacher who video streams a class to a class full of children with a younger person acting as a tutor or supervisor in the classroom. In this way, older teachers are protected but children still get the opportunity to develop their social skills,” Human points out.
Solidarity explained that it is in nobody’s interest, especially not in the interest of those who currently hold governing body positions, to now close the schools outright all over the country.
We are already witnessing a huge decrease in parents’ paying of school fees. This is understandable. Barring the current economic crisis, we must all remember that schools are there to educate children. If they no longer serve that purpose, then people are going to rebel. Unfortunately, it will not be the schools that would be suffering then, but the children and especially governing body teachers who stand to lose their jobs almost as a rule,” Hennie Bierman, the head of Occupational Guilds at Solidarity concluded.