After the premature closure of schools on March 24 due to the Covid19 induced national lockdown, the Zimbabwe Government has revealed that the phased resumption of classes is slated for ‘three to four weeks from now’.
The imminent reopening of schools comes at a time when universities in the southern African country are also set to commence lectures on June 1 after the Covid19 (coronavirus) pandemic had adversely impacted on the tertiary learners.
In the pursuit of fostering the concept of mandatory social distancing as a way of mitigating the spread of Covid19, classes will be divided into two with temporary classes set to be introduced.
And to ease the burden on already registered teachers, Government is set to hire 6 000 more teachers in this regard.
By the time the schools reopen in June, the Harare administration expects that school teachers would have undergone screening and testing to ensure the safety of learners.
The envisaged teacher recruitment drive will also see the country boasting of a total number of plus or minus 140 000 teachers against an estimated figure of 4,5 million learners nationwide.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema told state media on Saturday that the 2020 exam classes will be the first to resume classes while those who will sit for the 2021 national examinations will join their predecessors, two or three weeks later.
Grades Three, Four, Five and learners in Forms One and Two have been categorised under Phase Three of the schools’ reopening schedule.
Phase Four consists of Grades Two and One while Phase Five sees the resumption of ECD classes, which are set to open last.
Mathema also revealed that his Ministry also intends to open a centralised e-learning centre which will embrace every pupil in Zimbabwe.
“We will also have a centralised e-learning centre at the Ministry, which will use WhatsApp as its main channel,” said the Minister.
The move to reopen the schools has literally been received with a pinch of salt by various teacher representative unions who feel the country is not yet ready to reopen the schools until essential Covid19 measures are put in place for the safety of both the teachers and the learners.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently announced that the country was now under an indefinite Level 2 lockdown with periodic two-week reviews. On lockdown since March 30, Zimbabwe has recorded a total of 4 Covid19 deaths while the number of infected nationals stands at 56.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews