Schools re-open with restrictions
The Ministry of Education has directed that all schools in Tropical Cyclone Freddy-affected districts be opened on March 27 2023, save for those where structures are being used as camps or are submerged in water and require certification by engineers.
Addressing journalists Thursday, Education Minister Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima also directed that schools in Mwanza, Neno, Blantyre Urban and Zomba Urban resume physical classes immediately.
“My ministry further directs that such schools should remain open until July 21 2023 to cover for the time lost and those who have been in boarding school in the affected districts should close for one week and return to school on April 10 2023,” Wirima said.
This means day-learners in the affected districts will not break for holiday until July 21 2023.
Wirima said there are some education districts which have not recovered from the effects of the cyclone, to the extent that, apart from the schools, roads leading to the schools have also been damaged.
She said, with assistance from engineers, the ministry will continue to assess the stability of infrastructure and make determinations on case-by-case basis.
“Some schools in the Shire Highlands Division remain inaccessible due to flooding of rivers flowing into Lake Chirwa basin and wet grounds, which is making erection and use of tents technically impossible.
“The schools in this division will not open on March 27 2023. Similarly, Makhanga CDSS [Community Day Secondary School] and Makhanga Primary School in South West Education Division (Nsanje) will not open as scheduled because they are completely submerged in water and are located between the flooded Shire and Ruo rivers, making them inaccessible,” she said.
Schools at Chisi Island in Zomba—namely Chisoni Ngotangota— will also not open as scheduled because of rising water in Lake Chilwa, such that Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education examinations candidates will be transferred to the mainland and accommodated at St Michaels’ Teacher Development Centre, where they will be provided with basic necessities and food for seven weeks until they sit examinations. Chinguma and
“My ministry is working on bringing the schools back to full functionality within the shortest possible period with emphasis on remediation. My ministry will continue to monitor the situation and adjust its response accordingly and will keep updating the nation,” Wirima said.
She said they are hopeful that the school calendar for both primary and secondary schools will return to normal at the beginning of the third term on April 17 2023.