Schools’ reopening delayed

04 January 2021 | Education

The minister of education, arts and culture Ester Nghipondoka announced proposed dates for the reopening of schools.

Nghipondoka said that 14 January is the proposed reopening date for teachers, 26 January for pre-primary to grade 11 learners, and for advanced subsidiary (AS) learners, the re-opening date is set for 16 February.

The initial reopening of schools for teachers was 6 January and 11 January for learners. For AS learners the original reopening date was pending due to results.

Nghipondoka said that the ministry is cognizant of the current situation with regards to increasing Covid-19 infections and its impact.

“In consultation with the office of the president, office of the prime minister, ministry of health, NANTU, National Advisory Committee on Education and other key stakeholders and role players, the ministry revised the dates for face-to-face reopening of all schools, both state and private.”

The minister said that 2020 was a difficult year for all in the education fraternity and thanked all the stakeholders for their support in the successful completion of the 2020 school year.

“We have seen great resilience from our regional offices, teachers, learners and parents in dealing with the challenges that they were faced with.”

She added that the education sector has gained valuable experience and a better understanding in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We enter 2021 with the requisite skills and knowledge to cope with the new complexities. Considering the various regulations on Covid-19 issued by the ministry of health regarding physical distancing, wearing of masks and sanitizing, the ministry of education has put mechanisms in place to ensure implementation in schools and school preparedness as per Formal Education Circulars that were issued to schools in 2020.”

Nghipondoka reminded parents that they are responsible for ensuring that each learner is provided with a face mask and the correct information on wearing it.

Schools are expected to communicate to the parents as to what teaching and learning mode they will make use of, either platooning (different groups of learners and teachers attending morning and afternoon classes), time-based cohorts (accommodation of various learners in various grades on various days), distributed groups (all learners return but classes broken into smaller groups that learn in different locations at different times) or a combination of these, in the implementation of the curriculum.

Regional directors have also been requested to ensure that schools are supported in the process of reopening.