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Zimbabwe govt to provide PPE to all learners

by Staff reporter
03 Sep 2020 at 06:11hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT will provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all learners when schools reopen, with Treasury releasing $350 million to prepare learning institutions for safe reopening.

Cabinet on Tuesday approved the reopening of schools for Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six examination classes. Candidates sitting for Cambridge tests will open on September 14 while those writing Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) examination will reopen on September 28, as tests will start on December 1.

Schools closed in March as Government took up measures to mitigate against the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela yesterday said Government was taking all precautionary measures to ensure a safe reopening of schools.

She was speaking at Mashaba Primary School in Gwanda South, Matabeleland South, during a tour of the Mashaba 99 kilowatt mini-solar grid project that provides power to the local community including the school. During the tour, it was observed that the school was underutilising the solar facility as it does not have any serious income generating project, since the solar grid was launched in 2016.

Mrs Thabela said Government has taken a bold step to reopen schools as learning cannot continue to wait. She said learners have missed out a lot following the long time they have been out of school.

"In preparing for the reopening of schools we are going to implement measures that were used in running the June Zimsec examinations that were Covid-19 free," said Mrs Thabela.

"So far what Government has allocated is $350 million also partners are assisting us but if we find anything lacking, we will approach the Government with our pleas."

She said provision of water in schools remains one of the biggest challenges that the ministry is tackling. Mrs Thabela said through partnership with development partners, Government will avail funds for the drilling of boreholes in 1 000 schools within the next two weeks.

"However, what remains the biggest gap is the provision of water in our schools. Even in this challenge, the Global Partnership for Education through UNICEF have reprogrammed, money which was meant for other projects and dedicated it to water provision in schools. Within two weeks money will be released for the drilling of boreholes in 1000 schools as we continue to engage Government that it drills boreholes in other schools," said Mrs Thabela.

She said the opening of schools for junior classes will be determined by how for examination classes will respond to Covid-19 upon opening.

Mrs Thabela said the Ministry will continue implementing alternative learning initiatives online, radio and television lessons which will be launched soon.

"We appeal to parents to assist children so that they do not regress from their studies. Parents should assist their children through radio lessons and even online content. We need to utilise blended learning to ensure our children do not forget what they have learnt. We know 2020 has been a difficult year due to Covid-19 and five months has been a long time for children to be out of school," said Mrs Thabela.

She said schools such as Mashaba Primary School should take advantage of the electricity and information communication technologies to improve on pass rates as they have been given resources that position them to improve the quality of education.

The school besides having electricity has been provided with tablets and laptops to improve delivery of education.

Yesterday, the school received a kit comprising of laptops and tablets from World Vision, as the organisation moves to address the digital divide. Mrs Thabela challenged teachers to guard against learners being distracted by games in using ICT gadgets.

Source - chronicle
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