Botswana Schools Opening
18 May 2020
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Permanent Secretary - Basic Education, Bridget John

Gaborone — Public schools are to re-open on June 2 while private schools will be eligible to reopen from May 15 if they have satisfied the COVID-19 guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Permanent Secretary – Basic Education, Bridget John has said.

Addressing the media in Gaborone on May 16, Ms John said that her Ministry had taken a staggered approach to the reopening of schools and only completing classes would re-open on June 2 while others would resume classes two-three weeks later.

“For the time being completing classes such as Standard Seven well as Form Three and Five will re-open on June 2 and the public needs not worry about the curriculum since we have adjusted the school calendar including examination dates, which have been pushed back in order to cushion the delay of classes during the period of extreme social distancing,” she said.

She said teachers and support staff were expected to report for duty on May 18.

Ms John said that by the time public schools reopen, physical health inspections that were guided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness guidelines would have been conducted throughout the schools to check if they were in line with the COVID-19 regulations, as such items such as thermometers would be delivered to schools from May 18.

Regarding the overpopulation of pupils in classes, Ms John said consultative talks were still ongoing and the nation would be notified in due course.

She said her ministry had observed that there were challenges of transport and acquisition of permits by teachers and support staff who were supposed to return to work and the authorities would not be rigid towards those who may not be able to report for duty on stipulated dates.

For his part, permanent secretary for Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Theophilus Mooko said institutions would also adopt a staggered approach when they open and first year students would be catered by readjustment of school calendars.

“We need to manage the new normal, but I would like to assure the nation that as we restructure the academic year, the integrity and quality of courses’ content will not be compromised,” he said.

He said, however, that applications for scholarships would be determined by whether or not social distancing protocols had ended.

Dr Mooko noted that online application for scholarship was not yet possible – if all goes well, it may be available next year.

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