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Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has discouraged parents from allowing their children to repeat the academic year as a result of Covid-19, warning them that they will not receive support from the department

Lesufi was speaking at a tour of Randburg Clinic School in Johannesburg – a school for special needs pupils– on Thursday.

“We have taken a posture that we will provide support to everyone, but we will never provide support to somebody who says a learner must repeat the grade – we will never.

“We believe we must never have a generation of failures, a generation that has never gone to school. That would be an indictment to the future of our country,” Lesufi said.

“So, let’s find a balance between preserving lives and ensuring that learners get their education,” he added.

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Back to normal

The MEC pointed out that many other countries affected by Covid-19 were also going back to normal.

“Where the virus has gone through, people are starting to go back. We are not the only ones going back on 1 June. The UK is going back on 1 June as well.”

He emphasised the importance of pupils’ return to school.

“We don’t know how long we will be caught in this Covid-19 [pandemic], so any decision that might be short term might harm the learner in the long term.

“Even if you can do things online, the guidance of a teacher becomes paramount,” Lesufi said.

He assured parents and pupils that all relevant systems were put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools.

The MEC has been visiting schools across the province this week, assessing preparations.

Pupils in Grades 7 and 12 will be the first to return on 1 June.