PERMANENT Secretary in the ministry of information, publicity and broadcasting services, Mr Nick Mangwana has advised that government is working on modalities to finalise a new school calendar for 2020 which has already been affected by the COVID-19 induced national Lockdown.
By Michael Gwarisa
Responding to questions during a webinar media training which was organised by UNDP, Higherlife Foundation, in partnership with the ministry of information, publicity and broadcasting services, Mr Mnagwana said the pandemic had affected schools in a big way.
We still need to bring people to classes and whatever number of days that have been lost in the current school calendar would have to be covered. It may mean that we are going to open schools in around maybe August and go all the way to Christmas with no breaking between. I am not saying this is what we are going to do but we are still talking so that we ensure learners recover.
“The school calendar is one of the most affected in our country because of the lockdown and because of the virus. The ministry of primary and secondary education is looking working ensuring that those who can do things online right now can continue learning,” said Mr Mangwana.
He added that Zimbabwe had no option but to bring learners back into classes once the country is out of harm’s way.
“It is something that we are discussing so we may help learners to recover. For any calendar to be considered as an educational calendar, there is a requisite number of lesson days that have to be met and in this particular case, we are behind and we would need to cover that defic.
“We know that our biggest population is in the rural areas where access to electricity and internet in low. At the moment, we know that 1.5 million learners were on the Ruzivo platform and we know that our learning population mainstream is around 3.6 million so that means we still have a massive majority who are not on that platform.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered all schools and tertiary institutions to close on Tuesday, 24 March, due to the coronavirus pandemic. He also said schools would once the coronavirus threat has receded.
Meanwhile, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) signed a agreement with the United Nations, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to ensure continuity of learning in schools despite the Lockdwon. The support will scale up good practices and long distance learning solutions reaching even the most at risk children in the region.