Schools are not yet ready to accommodate examination classes to resume lessons, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has brought this to light.
ZIMTA public relations Daisy Zambuko told bhizimusi.com that the teachers association had given the government some conditions to ensure that schools opening can be safe and secure because the first priority should be the health and safety of learners, teachers and any other education personnel.
“So as long as we don’t have those conditions in place like reduced class sizes more teachers employed to cater for those exam classes, running water, all schools with sanitisers, all learners and teachers with free masks that are provided from government, health personnel being in schools, we don’t see how it will be possible for schools to be opened. So as far as we are concerned the conditions are not yet there,” Zambuko said.
“As teachers, we are not ready to deal with copses of teachers and the quarantining of learners. We don’t even know how to handle a victim in case they arise.”
ZIMTA, in a note, says the Zimbabwean education set up conflict the World Health Organisation guidelines with an average class of about 1: 60 teachers to students ratio which cannot ensure effective social distancing.
“Availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in schools is another area of concern. Looking at the way Government has handled industry by merely giving instruction without the financial backing in regards to the issue of testing employees, leaves a lot to be desired. Schools most of which have dried up coffers are in no position to avail PPEs to Educators and pupils leaving this burden in the hands of Government,” the association says.
“Teachers who are the main characters in the administration of classes lack the technical and critical skills regarding the detection and handling of Covid 19 cases. Just like we have witnessed unequipped frontline nurses losing their lives in the fight against Covid 19, the same could easily happen to Teachers as they interact with children from various homes and backgrounds.”
“Temperature screening and hand sanitizing has been made mandatory at all entrances in all institutions, however this comes at a cost. Schools in this regard need to have someone who will be dedicated to this task which is another cost the Government is expected to cater for. As the testing happens, proper guidelines in regards to the handling of suspected cases need to be in place and made available to schools well before they open. As we speak there is nothing of that sort,” the association goes on.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressing the nation stated that the schools and tertiary education facilities will remain closed except for classes sitting for examinations this year.
Considering opening schools is also in direct conflict with the situation obtaining on the ground where schools are being used as COVID-19 quarantine centres according to ZIMTA
Zambuko said, “This opening of schools (I think) it’s a far fetched dream for us because the conditions are not yet there.”
“Even the numbers of people who are being infected now is rising… We closed schools because there was one deadly case now they are 46 people infected.”
The government closed the Primary and Secondary Education first term earlier than planned as a way of preventing the spread of COVID-19.