Government says it is prepared for the second phase of the schools opening on Monday which will see pupils in Grade Six, Form Three and Lower Sixth classes going back to school following nearly seven months since schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government had put in place necessary measures to ensure the phased reopening of schools goes well, despite challenges brought about by Covid-19.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was working tirelessly to ensure that schools open and that pupils receive the best education under the circumstances.
“Schools are already open for exam classes that is the Grade Sevens, Form Fours and Upper Sixth. They are now preparing to write examinations. When it comes to the second phase of schools opening on the 26th (October), the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has been working on full throttle to make sure that the Form Threes, Lower Sixth and Grade Sixes, they all commence, and all the other classes will start on the 9th of November.
“We have made sure as a Government that we provide education to our children in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been a lot of preparation done to make sure that we put all the measures in place to contain the spread of this Covid-19,” she said.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema said as far as Government was concerned the teachers were at their respective schools. He said there were no schools where teachers have not reported for duty.
“We are ready for the schools opening. There is no school where there are no teachers. If you know any please let us know,” he said.
This is despite some teachers threatening to boycott lessons in an effort to push for a salary review. Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima said Government has remained committed to address the realistic concerns of teachers.
Meanwhile, Government will this week ramp up monitoring of teacher attendance in schools in order to assess staffing gaps and determine areas that need additional educators to cover for those not reporting for duty. Provincial and district education officers will intensify daily assessments of teachers’ attendance registers at schools in order to establish staffing gaps which could be covered by hiring more teachers.
Already, Government has recruited 2 300 teachers, with an additional 3 000 to be added to ensure Standard Health Operating Procedures are effected properly. The monitoring will also allow authorities to evaluate the extent to which this year’s syllabus has been covered and the methods that can be deployed to help pupils catch up.