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Motshekga Explains Why Private Schools Did Not Close

When the president announced a 4 week break for public schools, some organisations were not happy that private schools would remain open. Minister Motshekga now says closing private schools along with public schools would not have been in the best interest of learners.

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Motshekga said she met with stakeholders of independent schools who decided they wanted to keep independent schools open. 

"They indicated that their schools were not covered in the relief funds, and that some of their schools had closed down permanently due to the dire financial situation; and learners had been displaced and teachers lost jobs."

"It was, therefore, determined as not serving the best interest of anybody to ask private schools to go on a break," she said.

She said private private schools had the right resources to continue teaching, and they were not facing the same problems as some public schools. 

"Their schools are also following the standard operating procedures and have submitted their records of compliance to all health and safety protocols as well as social distancing to the district offices before being approved to reopen," Motshekga said.

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) has been fighting for the department to close private schools along with public schools. 

Beauty Blennies of COSAS said:

"Yes, we understand that private schools are independent schools and the salaries of teachers and the salaries of the teachers come from the school fees of the learners, but when we talk about equal education, we need to speak from one voice and that means we need to speak from one point."

The Congress felt that announcing a break for public schools would create a divide in the education system. 

The Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) responded to COSAS organising protests in an attempt to get private schools to close.

"It is regrettable that Cosas is targeting independent schools. Independent schools have [never] actually closed. When the president shut down [during Level 5 lockdown], all our members went to remote learning".

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