SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE government yesterday announced a slightly-phased reopening of schools, with examination classes set to begin lessons on March 15 while the rest of the classes start a week later.
This comes as schools and tertiary institutions were closed for the better part of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 academic year was supposed to begin in the first week of January, but the government had to push back the dates after a huge spike in new infections and deaths due to the lethal virus, which resulted in a hard lockdown.
Zimbabwe has, however, been able to contain the spread of the virus in recent weeks which saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa relax the lockdown measures on Monday.
This has paved the way for learners to get ready to get back to school, colleges and universities in the coming weeks.
Speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare last night, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa gave a breakdown of the phased reopening of schools.
“Cabinet agrees that the school calendar for 2021 start on a slightly phased approach with examination classes opening on March 15 and the rest on March 22, 2021.
“Teachers for examination classes should report for duty on March 10 and the rest of the teachers on March 17, 2021,” Mutsvangwa said.
With a need for students to adhere to strict physical distancing protocols, Cabinet agreed classes had to be conducted rotationally.
Teachers have also been asked to come up with condensed learning material to ensure learners make up for the lost time.
“There shall be rotational school attendance where learners cannot exercise social distancing.
“On the days when children are not at school, learners will engage new strategies such as open distance learning and e-learning.
“Relevant modules are already under production. Among the catch-up strategies, all continuing classes will start with 2020 work syllabi that has been compressed to facilitate accelerated coverage.
“Both primary and secondary schools will follow three levels of accelerated syllabus coverage,” Mutsvangwa said.
Mutsvangwa also spoke of the government’s commitment to provide decent accommodation to its citizens through the Musha-Muzi project which has been mooted by the newly-established Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida).