Tuesday, 11 January 2022 06:49

Angie Motshekga to brief the nation on the schools reopening.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, will hold a media briefing on the opening of schools for the 2022 school year.

Schools are set to reopen from Wednesday, 12 January.

The briefing is scheduled to take place from 10:00 at the Ronnie Mamoepa Press Room, Tshedimosetso House, in Pretoria.

Government is ready to receive millions of learners for the 2022 academic year, as learners across the country will report for the start of the new school year between 12 and 17 January.

Pupils in inland provinces are expected to return to school on Wednesday, while schools in coastal areas will only resume a week later.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is aiming to have the 2022 academic return to normal after "two years of instability", said Motshekga

"Our preference is to get back to school. To live side-by-side with Covid-19 and just make sure that life goes on,"she told SABC on Monday.

The minister said pupils in disadvantaged communities lost more than 50% of their schooling in 2021 due to the pandemic.

"In the most impoverished areas, we were teaching up to 40%, which we would have lost [more than] half of the teaching,"she said.

She revealed that the department is also engaging with Cabinet to reduce social distancing in schools. However, Motshekga further said that vaccinations among pupils will have to be increased.

For this month, January, schools will have to go back the way they are until such time we announce that there are changes, we are working as the department with our provinces to engage with all the other bodies like the health department to say," she said.

"We need first to reduce the social distancing, but we also need to scale up our vaccination programs. Fortunately, I was told that we are at 80% which is comfortable, we want to have vaccination of older… younger children just to create the safe space.

"Then we will be able to negotiate with health to say we need to reduce from 1,5 to 0,5 which will give us more space and more leeway, so that’s what we plan to do for the first two weeks when Cabinet resume. I had actually started engaging with them before the Omicron came in and created some havoc,"the minister added.

All children 12-17 years and older are eligible to receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, as opposed to the two doses administered to people over 18.