Matabeleland Rural Schools are not ready to reopen schools, because they lack enough resources to meet the standard stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the government for schooling to resume safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Daily News reports.
This was revealed by the Rural Communities Empowerment Trust coordinator Vumani Ndlovu who said:
Quite a number of schools have inadequate classroom blocks which will make the issue of maintaining physical distancing impossible. Furthermore, most schools don’t have water and sanitation facilities which are essential for prevention against coronavirus.
Schools are under-resourced as many parents cannot afford to pay school fees and as such the majority of the rural schools in Matabeleland will not be able to provide sanitisers and face masks.
Ndlovu urged the government to do something to address the situation of Matabeleland Rural Schools and even went on to say teachers might not be able to travel to their respective centers due to incapacitation:
While we welcome the move by the government to open schools given the fact that the continued closure affects mostly the rural pupils, who have no access to online learning, radio lessons due to Internet and signals connectivity challenges, we, however, feel that the government should have at least addressed some of the fundamentals first that will militate against proper and effective learning.
We have a strong feeling that teachers may not be able to travel to schools, especially those in rural areas citing incapacitation and lack of bus fares given that transport charges are now in foreign currency, but they are paid in local currency.
The government stated that schools will open their doors first for the writing classes on 15 March 2021 then for the rest of the students on 22 March 2021. Teachers have however said they are incapacitated and they will not be reporting for duty on the said dates.