EDITORIAL | How independent are private schools?
There should have been clarity from the start on whose choice it is to reopen
And so it begins. Amid the push and pull on whether pupils should return to school, confusion reigned around the powers of the basic education department over private schools. Many had started before the delay in the reopening of schools was announced.
On Monday, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited Joburg private school Helpmekaar Kollege, mere days after they reopened on Wednesday. Ostensibly, his visit was to “find reasons for the college’s action, as it is a contravention of the pronouncement of the department of basic education to postpone the opening of schools” to February 15 as Covid-19 infection figures explode.
On Friday, deputy basic education minister Reginah Mhaule told reporters independent schools would not be excluded from the decision to delay the reopening of schools. But then the department’s adviser, Mzwandile Matthews, said they consulted with the National Alliance of Independent Schools (Naisa) and the Independent Schools Association of SA (Isasa) and they “will be persuaded to consider delaying and following the reopening protocols”. But, he also added: “We cannot instruct them. We hope they will consider closing and reopening as stated.”..