JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says criminals are continuing to wreak havoc in schools by burning and vandalising them.
While Grades R, 6 and 11 were expected back at school on Monday, Motshekga said her department was currently repairing 1 718 schools countrywide that had been vandalised during the lockdown.
In Gauteng alone, she said, 351 schools have been vandalised. Six were vandalised just this past week.
In many instances, it was not the first time that these schools had been vandalised, Motshekga said.
“In the North West, a school was torched this week, resulting in three classrooms to be damaged. The province reports that
burning tyres were used to set the school on fire.
“This is a serious set-back to the communities affected by these barbaric acts, which cause so much damage to our infrastructure, she said.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that was implemented to help curb infections, South African school children have been home since March.
Grades R, 6 and 11 expected to return on Monday, July 6 while other grades would be phased in later.
As the children have been home since March, Motshekga said it has not been possible to measure the impact of the school closures on learning as no significant assessments of learner performance has been done.
“However, the international and local evidence around the typical impact of losing school time, due to disasters, strikes suggests strongly that learning losses may well be greater than what is suggested by actual days lost.
“This is, in large part, because disruptions result in learners forgetting some of what was previously learnt,” she said.