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Students react to closure of schools

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University students have asked institutions of higher learning to consider introducing e-learning as Covid-19 cases spike in the country.

The suggestion follows President Lazarus Chakwera’s order that schools be temporarily closed for three weeks as the government continues to monitor the situation.

Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Students Union President John Gonapamuhanya Gondwe said the closure of schools wears two faces, one of which is that it will delay the learning calendar.

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“This is the time school management should have been thinking of e-learning. They need to sample the learning model. We do not want to lose more time of learning by being idle.

“In the three weeks of schools’ closure, we, a Mzuni, would have begun end of semester examinations. This will greatly affect the academic calendar. We have already delayed with the first closure. But, on the other hand, let’s wait for the government to assess the situation because what matters most is life,” he said.

Gondwe tipped fellow students to use the time productively and refrain from substance abuse.

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His counterpart at the University of Malawi, The Polytechnic’s Kunozga Mlowoka, bemoaned that Chakwera’s order would further delay their academic calendar.

Mlowoka said, while e-learning would be the fill-gap solution, network hitches and high bundle costs would mean less privileged students would be left behind.

“E-learning is the better option now because students still need to be learning. We have wasted a lot of time already. The virus is with us and we have to embrace it. At institution level, lecturers can produce recorded lessons among other strategies. What is needed now is to work on challenges like poor internet connectivity and data charges,” he said.

Education Ministry Principal Secretary Chikondano Mussa said, following the President’s directive, only boarders would remain in school until cleared by medical professionals.

All schools are expected to reopen on February 8 2021.

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