By A Correspondent- The 5 300 teachers recently engaged to beef up staff at schools following Government’s decision to reduce classes to maximum of 30 pupils to allow for social distancing start work today.
The last group of pupils that include Early Childhood Development ECD A and ECD B, Grade One to Five and Form One and Two classes are reopening today.
The schools reopened in phases starting with examination classes which are Grade Seven, Form Four and Six which reopened in September and this was followed by Grade Six, Form Three and Five last month. Schools were closed in March as part of Government’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communications Mr Taungana Ndoro said schools are ready for the reopening of the last group of pupils today. He said the Provincial Education Directors (PEDs) and their teams will be monitoring activities in schools to make sure that there is compliance to Government regulations.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education devised the Standard Operating Procedures to guide safe reopening of schools in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a Ministry we are ready for the third and last phase of the reopening of schools. This phase will see the last group of classes which are ECD A, B, Grades One to Five and Form One and Two reopening. It is all all systems go from the reports so far received from regions across the country. We have put in place modalities to make sure the schools reopen,” he said.
Mr Ndoro said schools that do not have adequate classrooms have been advised to have morning and afternnon classes so that they adhere to the requirements of a maximum of 30 pupils per class to allow for social distancing. He said Government has also directed PEDs to monitor teachers’ attendance and those that do not report for duty will be disciplined.
“Teachers will fill in attendance registers which will be taken to provinces before they are forwarded to the Head Office,” said Mr Ndoro.
The Public Service Commission directed the education Ministry to take action against teachers who have not been reporting for work since schools reopened in September. The PSC said the ministry should apply the principle of “no work no pay” . Yesterday parents with children attending boarding schools welcomed Government’s decision to reopen schools even for a short period.
A Chronicle news crew visited some of the schools pick up points such as City Hall Car Park where pupils showed excitement over the schools reopening.
In Gweru, schools such as Regina Mundi High School, Chaplin High School, Fletcher High School, Anderson High School and Stanley Primary School received their last group of boarders.
Although under the SOP, hugging is banned, the learners hugged each other, claiming they had not seen each other for a long time. Parents who spoke to the news crew said they were worried about their children’s education. Mr Thembani Moyo with a child a Solusi High School said it was good that the children were returning to school.
“It’s pointless for them to remain at home because time is moving while they are not attending classes.
“They should go to school even if its just for a month but the fees being demanded are too high given that they will only be there for just a month,” said Mr Moyo.
Another parent Mr Mthabisi Moyo with a child at the same school said school authorities have to be more vigilant to ensure pupils attend classes.
“These children have learnt a lot of things which are morally wrong during their extended stay at home. Our hope is that they will not try to experiment some of these ills when they are now at school. However, we feel that it is good that the children return to school,” said Mr Moyo.
Mrs Noma Sibindi said she fully supported the idea of reopening of schools though it’s only one month left.
“It’s good that schools are reopening for the last group of pupils. Lives cannot stop because we have Covid-19. It was created by us, life has to go on and we have to learn to live under the new normal with the pandemic. The children have to go back to school even for this short period,” said Mrs Sibindi.
Some of the parents said their worry was that some teachers might not report for work resulting in their children being idle when they have paid fees.-statemedia