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Zimbabwe schools back to five-day learning week

by Staff reporter
01 May 2022 at 11:14hrs | Views
THE Government has announced that as schools open for the second term on Tuesday, all pupils are now supposed to attend classes every weekday, finally bringing normalcy to one of the sectors that had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second term starts this week and this will be the first time in nearly two years when pupil attendance will be back to pre-March 2020 levels before President Mnangagwa announced early closure of school and tertiary institutions as precautionary measure against the pandemic.

The first lockdown was announced in March 2020 and since then, the education sector has been hit by numerous interruptions forcing authorities to run only two terms in 2020 and 2021.

This also resulted in public examinations spilling into new years and disruption of start of classes such as Form One and Lower Sixth.

Even when schools were opened, the Government had initially directed that in an effort to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in schools, pupils can alternate coming to schools so as to avoid congestion, resulting in some pupils attending school for only two or three days per week to limit numbers as per the Standard Operating Procedures.

However, Director of Communication and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro last week told Sunday News during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair that school authorities have now been informed to prepare for a normal schooling term.

Director of Communication and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro

"The idea of alternating the number of days pupils come to school is falling off this term. Pupils can now go to school every day but schools must continue to observe the standard procedures to ensure that they prevent and minimise Covid-19 cases."

The decision comes after Cabinet last week announced that it has okayed the reopening of schools for the second term under strict compliance with Covid-19 prevention and management protocols to ensure a safe environment for learners.

In January, Government came up with a school calendar with 184 learning days following a long break from classes in 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw many outbreaks being reported in schools, especially those with boarding facilities.

Speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing last week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said learning institutions will open as scheduled.

"The nation is further being informed that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is currently preparing for the safe reopening of schools on May 3, 2022 in full compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the Prevention and Management of Covid-19 as well as other Influenza-like illnesses," she said.

The country has continued to record a decline in Covid-19 cases due to the policies put in place by the Government and the compliance by citizens. Speaking at a Business Conference at the ZITF last week, Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care said the country has made tremendous progress in the vaccination programme with more than five million citizens having received their first dose while more than three million had received the second dose.

He said more than half a million have also received the booster shot with the country expected to accelerate the vaccination programme among eligible school children when schools open.

"As schools open next week, we expect the number of those who are vaccinating to accelerate," he told Captains of Industry during the business meeting.

In February, the Government announced that children aged 12 years and above can now be vaccinated against Covid-19 after the Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe, which brings together specialists in child health, gave the green light.

However, the opening of schools has also presented a major headache for parents as some schools have hiked fees.

Most of the schools that have hiked the fees, especially private schools, are tracking the foreign currency parallel market rates that have been going up.

In addition, some parents were yesterday busy buying winter uniforms and other learning materials for their children. Most schools change uniforms during the second term.

Source - The Sunday News
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