By Patience Lunda:
The Ministry of Health has allowed final-year students in nursing and midwifery training colleges to continue with their studies during the two weeks of school closure.
National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi (Nonm) and Association of Malawian Midwives requested the ministry for the waiver.
Principal Secretary for Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo granted the waiver in a letter dated February 6 2021, on condition that training institutions observe all guidelines for Covid prevention and control as guided by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid.
Nonm President Shouts Simeza confirmed the development, saying final-year students would help strength the healthcare workforce, which is currently overwhelmed.
“Many final-year students were, by 2020, supposed to graduate and go to a pool of the health workforce that is there to support and beef up efforts in the fight against the Covid pandemic and that did not happen because of the closure.
“So, this time, we pleaded for a special waiver so that they could finish their programmes and then they could go into the system,” he said.
Meanwhile, Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe has described the decision as selective justice.
“It feels like other categories are more important than others. The government should handle these issues seriously and give proper guidance to stakeholders because they have the potential to create chaos in the education system,” he said.
Quality education advocate Steve Shara said there was a need to formulate a tier system, which will enable the Presidential Taskforce on Covid determine what nature of action to take depending on the levels.
On February 4 this year, the Presidential Taskforce on Covid announced that schools would be closed for an additional two weeks as officials continue monitoring the situation.
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