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Schools to reopen on September 7

Activists doubt preparedness

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John Phuka

Government Thursday announced that schools and colleges will open on September 7 2020, a move the Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) has said should be done with conscience, considering the short period teachers and learners have to prepare.

Minister of Education Agnes Nyalonje announced this during a press briefing in Lilongwe.

She said all schools will be disinfected and all teachers would be oriented on Covid-19 preventive measures.

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She said some of the preventative measures would be wearing masks by teachers and learners.

“On Monday, 7 September, Standard 8 learners, Form Four students and all students in their final year at universities will report to school. Other learners will be allowed to start learning after three weeks,” she said.

Nyalonje further said a team of desk officers at district level has been trained on Covid-19 prevention measures to contain spread of the coronavirus in schools.

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The minister says back to school messages are being disseminated to ensure that learners get the message.

Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, John Phuka, said Covid-19 cases are now declining in the country as witnessed by current statistics obtained in the past few days.

He said in the past 24 hours, for example, 22 new cases have been registered with 36 recoveries and no new death.

“Considering all circumstances, learners can now go back to school,” he said.

According to Phuka, July was the worst with more registered Covid-19 cases and deaths but the numbers have been declining since August.

According to the ministry, Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE) will be administered between September 30 and October 2, 2020.

Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations would be administered between October 22 to November 30 2020.

However, the Ministry of Education said the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) will release the detailed calendar later.

Csec Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, however, said it was doubtful that the ministry is well prepared for reopening of school’s considering the short period that has been given to teachers and learners.

“We hope that the ministry has looked into the matter carefully to make sure that they have the capacity to implement the measures,” he said.

Independent Schools Association of Malawi (Isama) president, Joseph Patel, said he is happy with the development.

“We are happy that schools will now reopen and will make sure that our schools pass the checklist,” he said.

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