Govt urged to decongest classes

Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) has implored the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to reduce class sizes in public schools in order to enable social distancing.

The call comes after the government announced the phased re-opening of schools for both examination and non-examination classes.

Learning institutions around the country had been closed as a precautionary measure due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases around the country.

In a statement, ECOZI called on various stakeholders inclusive of the government, private sector, international community, religious entities, CSOs, NGOs, philanthropists, and individuals to commit to pooling resources to improve the education sector.

“While acknowledging these noble efforts to make education accessible to all, we note that the pandemic has adversely exposed and widened the gaps in our education sector and societies in general. Some learners fail to access quality education during lockdown because of lack of access to radios, internet connection, data and technological gadgets for online lessons.”

ECOZI emphasised the need for the government to avail enough PPE for learners, teachers and non-teaching staff in all learning institutions.

“The government must improve the welfare of teachers and upskilling to ensure quality learning and teaching in public schools. All food-handling personnel in schools, both boarding and day schools must be trained on Covid-19 safety protocols relating to food handling,” the statement read.

“There is a need to ensure the availability of sufficient running water in all public schools to protect learners and teachers from contracting Covid-19. Establish a COVID-19 education relief fund to subsidise the termly fees and levies to be paid by each parent during this difficult situation”

ECOZI said the 2021 examination timetable should be pushed to early 2022, so that the syllabus can be completed and learners prepare accordingly and that the examination registration period be extended to allow parents to raise the funds.

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