With more than 30 schools vandalised and looted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during the week-long unrest, fears are that thousands of children will not have any classrooms to learn in come Monday when they re-open.
Desks, chairs, computers and anything else of value were stolen. Classroom and school buildings were vandalised and left in a sorry state. Some schools were set alight.
The South African Human Rights Commission on Tuesday said it noted, “with shock and sadness, reports that the recent riots” targeted more than 30 schools.
Schools in Amajuba, Ugu, Pinetown districts, and education district offices in both provinces were destroyed.
Schools are set to reopen next week, on 26 July 2021.
Initial reports estimated that about 30 schools were vandalised and looted. However, the City Press is reporting that the number of schools affected is as high as 139.
The commission warned the effects of the unrest and the third wave could lead to loss of learning time and school dropouts.
A recent National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) reveals that an additional 500 000 children have dropped out of school during the pandemic.
The survey indicates that dropouts have tripled from 230 000 pre-pandemic to about 750 000 in May 2021.
The commission called on the government, school administrators, and communities to ensure that children continue to enjoy their right to education.
The commission added that it was “worried that any delays in the reopening of schools will compromise the National Schools Nutrition Programme”.
Evidence suggests that only a limited number of learners who receive a meal at school, are able to do so whilst schools are closed.