The government requires $21 billion to ensure the safe reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Authorities are planning to reopen schools at the end of June, under a cautious five-phase programme but teachers have vowed not to return to work unless they are given adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs).
On Wednesday, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Thumisang Thabela told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education that the mammoth figure is what is required to guarantee the safety of learners. She said:
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We … need a grand total of $21 452 000 000 plus, but we are aware that it is a dream that we can only wish comes true.
The minister will soon be presenting our strategic plan in Cabinet and only after that will we be able to come up with definite (re-opening) dates, but we are envisaging five phases of opening.
And we need at least four weeks from now to prepare for the first phase, which will see only examination classes going back to school.
Thabela revealed that the government would seek the help of partners, including the United Nations (UN) agencies, to fund the re-opening.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Child Care announced that, as of Thursday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 51 including 18 recoveries, 29 active cases and 4 deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020.