Community Development Education Health

Government catches parents off-guard on schools reopening

A school teacher delivering a lesson

By Elvis Dumba

Chinhoyi – Parents here have expressed shock over the announcement by the government that schools will open on Monday 30 September 2021 for examination classes whilst the rest open on 6 September 2021.

Parents said they feel ambushed after the announcement came barely 24 hours after the government’s extension of the national level four lockdown.

“We are not ready yet for the opening of schools. We have to work on paying fees and some of us have to find accommodation for our children who learn in other towns. We don’t know how borders are going to be catered for?” said Ethel Bosha

Amigo Gwanzura said it’s impossible to have children travel back to their respective school stations in three days.

“A majority of us have to wait for the month-end to get money. The action by the government to just wake up and announce opening days in three days is tantamount to an ambush. We are even more afraid to pay school fees as schools may be closed prematurely since there are fears of a fourth wave,” he said.

A primary school head who requested anonymity said they were still making preparations and wanted to have at least one more month to be ready for the safe opening of schools.

“The announcement came as a surprise. Yes, we have been preparing for the opening of schools but we still have more to be done like agreeing with parents over the issue of fees which we have to get a nod from the government. We can’t make purchases for things like saniters in three days and we are expecting a low turn out of students and teachers due to various challenges as we are not adequately prepared,” he said

Great Zimbabwe University made an announcement of examination deferring following the announcement by the government that they have extended the national lockdown by a further two weeks.

An A-level student, Rebecca Matope said she has to travel from her rural home and find lodgings near her school in Banket – a challenge that has to be addressed in three days.

Linda Masarira, the Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) president is of the view that the extension of the level 4 Lockdown is a benefit to preserve lives from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

On reopening schools, LEAD said it is imperative for the government to consider getting teachers vaccinated at their workstations as a way of curbing the spread of the pandemic.

The party believes the resumption of sports is important for sharpening talents among students. With an increase in teen pregnancy during the lockdown, particularly in rural areas, LEAD feels the reopening of schools comes at an opportune time to curb this vice.

 

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende